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Cooke. 


0K617 
.C65 


EDIBLE 


AND 


POISONOUS  MUSHROOMS. 


EDIBLE 


AND 


POISONOUS  MUSHROOMS: 


WHAT  TO  EAT  AND  WHAT  TO  AVOID. 


BY 

M.  C.  COOKE,  M.A.,  LL.D., 
» « * 

AUTHOR  OF   "HANDBOOK   OF   BRITISH   FUNGI,"    "  FUNGI  :    THEIR 
NATURE,    USES,"    "TOILERS  IN   THE   SEA,"    ETC. 


WITH  EIGHTEEN  COLOURED  PLATES 
ILLUSTRATING    FORTY-EIGHT    SPECIES. 


PUBLISHED   UNDER   THE    DIRECTION   OF   THE    GENERAL^* ***** 
LITERATURE    COMMITTEE. 


LONDON : 
SOCIETY  FOR  PROMOTING  CHRISTIAN  KNOWLEDGE, 

NORTHUMBERLAND   AVENUE,    W.C.  ; 
43,    QUEEN  VICTORIA  STREET,    E.C. 

New  York:  E.  &  J.  B.  YOUNG  &  CO. 
1894. 


>L,(P3 


CONTENTS. 


PAGE 


PREAMBLE 

l  •                            •  t 

y 

EDIBLE    MUSHROOMS  : 

RUDDY    WARTY    CAPS 

.       29 

DELICIOUS    MILK-MUSHROOM 

.       31 

COMMON    MUSHROOM  ... 

.       33 

PARASOL    MUSHROOM 

.       35 

st.  george's  mushroom 

.       37 

BLUE    CAPS     ... 

.       39 

FAIRY    RING    CHAMPIGNON      ... 

.       41 

BLEWITS 

.       43 

DUSKY    CAPS 

.       45 

VEGETABLE    BEEF-STEAK 

.       47 

HORSE    MUSHROOM      ... 

.       49 

HEDGEHOG    MUSHROOM 

.       51 

IYORY    CAPS   ... 

.       53 

INKY    MUSHROOM 

..       55 

SHAGGY    CAPS 

..       57 

LITTLE    IVORY    CAPS... 

..       59 

GIANT    PUFF    BALL      ... 

..       61 

SWEETBREAD    MUSHROOM 

..       63 

HORN    OF    PLENTY       ... 

..       65 

CHANTARELLE 

..       67 

EDIBLE    BOLETUS 

..       69 

VI  CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

edible  mushrooms  (continued) : — 

BUFF    CAPS     ...              ...              ...  ...  ...  71 

WHITE    HELVELLA       ...             ...  ...  ...  73 

COMMON    MOREL            ...             ...  ...  ...  75 

LANKY    MOREL               ...              ...  ...  ...  77 

TRUFFLE           ...              ...              ...  ...  ...  79 

POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS  I 

FLY    MUSHROOM             ...              ...  ...  ...  83 

CONIC    LAWN    MUSHROOM         ...  ...  ...  85 

BUFF    WARTY    CAPS     ...              ...  ...  ...  87 

LIBERTY    CAPS                ...              ...  ...  ...  89 

DUNG    SLIMY    CAPS      ...              ...  ...  ...  91 

CLUSTERED    PINK-GILLS             ...  ...  ...  93 

STYPTIC    SIDEFOOT      ...              ...  ...  ...  95 

CLUSTERED   YELLOW   MUSHROOM  ...  ...  97 

SULPHURY    MUSHROOM              ...  ...  ...  99 

GREEN    SLIMY   CAPS    ...             ...  ...  ...  101 

MAGPIE   MUSHROOM    ...             ...  ...  ...  103 

WOOD    WOOLLY   FOOT                  ...  ...  ...  105 

BITTER   STRAW   RUSSULE          ...  ...  ...  107 

ACRID    MILK-MUSHROOM            ...  ...  ...  109 

SHAM    MUSHROOM         ...              ...  ...  ...  HI 

EMETIC   RUSSULE          ...             ...  ...  ...  113 

FIERY    MILK-MUSHROOM            ...  ...  ...  115 

WOOLLY    MILK-MUSHROOM        ...  ...  ....  117 

WHITE    WOOLLY    MILK-MUSHROOM  ...  ...  119 

BITTER    BOLETUS          ...              ...  ...  ...  121 

SATANIC    BOLETUS       ...              ...  ...  ...  123 

LURID    BOLETUS            ...             ...  ...  ...  125 


LIST    OF   ILLUSTKATIONS. 


EDIBLE  MUSHROOMS. 

PLATE 

FIG. 

I. 

1. 

Ruddy  Warty  Caps 

... 

Amanita  rubescens. 

2. 

Delicious  Milk-Mushroom 

Lactarius  deliciosus. 

3. 

Common  Mushroom 

. .. 

Psalliota  campestris. 

II. 

1. 

Parasol  Mushroom 

... 

Lepiota  procera. 

2. 

St.  George's  Mushroom  ... 

Tricholoma  gambosa. 

III. 

1. 

Blue  Caps 

... 

Tricholoma  nuda. 

2. 

Champignon 

... 

Marasmius  oreades. 

3. 

Blewits     ... 

... 

Tricholoma  personata. 

IV. 

1. 

Dusky  Caps 

... 

Clitoeybe  nebularis. 

2. 

Beef-steak 

... 

Fistulina  hepatica. 

V. 

1. 

Horse  Mushroom 

... 

Psalliota  arvensis. 

2. 

Hedgehog 

... 

Hydnum  repandum. 

3. 

Ivory  Caps 

•» . 

Hygrophorus  virgineus. 

VI. 

1. 

Inky  Mushroom  ... 

... 

Coprinus  atramentarius. 

2. 

Shaggy  Caps 

... 

Coprinus  comatus. 

3. 

Little  Ivory  Caps 

... 

Hygrophorus  niveus. 

VII. 

1. 

Puff  Ball 

... 

Lycoperdon  bovista. 

2. 

Sweetbread 

... 

Clitopilus  orcella. 

3. 

Horn  of  Plenty   ... 

... 

Cratercllus  cornucopioidcs, 

4. 

Chantarelle 

... 

Cantharellus  cibarius. 

VIII. 

1. 

Edible  Boletus    ... 

••• 

Boletus  edulis. 

2. 

Buff  Caps 

... 

Hygrophorus  pratcnsis. 

IX. 

1. 

White  Helvella  ... 

••• 

Helvella  crispa. 

2. 

Morel 

••• 

Morchella  esculenta. 

3. 

Lanky  Morel 

••• 

Morchella  semilibera. 

4. 

Truflle      

«•• 

Tuber  cestivum. 

Vlll 


LIST    OF    ILLUSTRATIONS. 


POISONOUS   MUSHROOMS. 


TLATE      FIG. 

x.  1.  Fly  Agaric 

2.  Conic  Lawn  Mushroom 

xi.  1.  Buff  Warty  Caps 

2.  Liberty  Caps 

3.  Dung  Slimy  Caps 
xn.  1.  Wavy  Pink  Gills 

2.  Styptic  Sidefoot 
XIII.  1.  Tufted  Wood  Mushroom 

2.  Sulphury  Mushroom 

3.  Green  Slimy  Caps 
xiv.  1.  Magpie     

2.  Wood  Woolly  Foot 
XV.  1.   Bitter  Russule     ... 

2.  Acrid  Milk-Mushroom 

3.  Sham  Mushroom 
XVI.  1.   Emetic  Russule  ... 

2.  Fiery  Milk-Mushroom 

3.  Shaggy  Milk-Mushroom 
xvn.  1.  White  Milk-Mushroom 

2.  Bitter  Boletus     ... 
xvill.  1.  Satanic  Boletus  ... 

2.  Lurid  Boletus      ...         , 


Amanita  muscaria. 
Hygrophorus  conicus. 
Amanita  plialloides. 
Psilocybe  semilanceatus. 
Stropharia  scmiglobata. 
Entoloma  sinuatus. 
Panus  stypticus. 
Hyplioloma  fascicularis. 
Tricholoma  sulphurca. 
Stropharia  aeruginosa. 
Coprinus  picaceus. 
Marasmius  ■pcronatus. 
Russula  fellea. 
Lactarius  acris. 
Hcbcloma  fastibilis. 
Russula  emetica. 
Lactarius  pyrogalus. 
Lactarius  torminosus. 
Lactarius  vellercus. 
Boletus  /elicits. 
Boletus  satanas. 
Boletus  htridus. 


CO 

en 


PREAMBLE. 

It  is  an  accepted  fact  that  some  fungi 
of  the  mushroom  type  are  poisonous,  whilst 
others  are  edible,  but  the  problem  to  be 
solved  is,  which  are  good,  and  which  are 
bad.  To  assist  in  the  solution  we  have 
given  an  unusual  quantity  of  coloured  illus- 
trations of  both  kinds,  and  from  these, 
in  combination  with  a  few  practical  obser- 
vations, we  hope  to  render  a  satisfactory 
answer.  It  must,  at  the  outset,  be  under- 
stood that  there  are  no  general  rules, 
capable  of  universal  application,  whereby 
edible  may  at  once  be  distinguished  from 
poisonous  fungi.  Our  task  would  be  an 
easy  one  if  such  a  "royal  road'  could  be 
^    discovered,  but   unfortunate] y  every  effort 

2^ 

«=£ 
~3 


10  PREAMBLE. 

to  apply  general  rules  has  failed,  and  no 
possible  course  remains  but  to  become 
acquainted  with  every  individual  species 
which  we  resolve  to  eat,  and,  collaterally, 
those  which  we  should  specially  avoid. 
It  may  not  be  out  of  place  to  remark 
that  there  are  some  features  manifested  in 
connection  with  poisonous  or  disagreeable 
fungi  which  should  be  borne  in  mind,  as 
tending  to  diminish  labour  in  investigation. 
For  instance,  it  may  be  concluded  that 
fungi  which  possess  a  distinctly  disagreeable 
odour  may  be  discarded  at  once  as  un- 
wholesome. Then,  again,  any  kinds,  the 
flesh  of  which,  when  cut  or  bruised, 
distinctly  changes  colour,  especially  to  a 
dark  blue,  should  be  avoided.  Even  the 
Common  Mushroom  will  sometimes  turn 
brown  when  cut,  and  some  other  of  the 
edible  species  will  show  a  slight  change, 
but  it  is  the  immediate  and  rapid  change 
to  a  deep  blue  which  should  be  accepted 
as  a  paramount  signal  of  danger.  It  may 
safely  be   conduded    that    any    species   of 


PREAMBLE.  1 1 

which  a  small  fragment  when  eaten  raw 
is  biting  and  unpleasant,  is  not  worthy  of 
experiment,  and  in  the  majority  of  in- 
stances will  prove  deleterious  when  cooked. 
Another  precaution  may  be  added,  that 
such  fungi  as  contain  a  milky  juice,  which 
exudes  freely  on  being  cut  or  wounded, 
should  not  be  eaten  without  careful  de- 
termination. Once  for  all,  it  must  be 
insisted  upon,  that  in  order  to  avoid  danger, 
no  fungi  should  be  eaten  at  random,  and 
only  those  which,  after  careful  examination, 
are  found  to  agree  with  figure  and  descrip- 
tion, unless  practically  well  known,  should 
be  prepared  for  the  table.  No  method  is 
so  safe  as  that  which  consists  in  mastering 
the  characteristics  of  a  few  species,  especially 
when  pointed  out  by  one  who  is  practically 
conversant  with  them,  and  increasing  the 
number  with  experience.  There  are  cer- 
tainly some  seventy  or  eighty  common 
species  to  be  found  in  this  country  which 
may  be  eaten  with  safety,  but  if  only  ten 
or   twelve  of  these  are  well  known,   they 


12  PREAMBLE. 

will  furnish,  all  the  variety  which  an 
ordinary  person  will  require.  We  have 
ourselves  eaten  of  more  than  sixty  different 
species,  and  yet  seldom  eat  of  more  than 
from  six  to  ten  in  any  given  year.  Ex- 
periments in  eating  unknown  fungi,  or 
those  concerning  which  any  doubt  exists, 
should  on  no  account  be  encouraged.  We 
may  not  possess  so  many  truly  poisonous 
species  as  has  been  supposed,  but  that 
we  do  possess  some  is  an  undoubted  fact, 
and  it  should  be  remembered  as  a  caution. 
Thorough  and  persistent  fnngus-eaters  never 
experiment  upon  unknown  species,  but  only 
upon  those  which  are  known  by  experi- 
ence to  be  harmless,  or  which  by  their 
natural  affinities  afford  no  possible  reason 
for  doubt. 

Characteristic  and  accurate  figures  are  a 
great  help  in  the  determination  of  species, 
but  figures  alone  are  scarcely  sufficient  for 
the  inexperienced,  and  should  always  be 
supplemented  by  a  reference  to  the  written 
description.      Features  of  importance  may 


PREAMBLE.  13 

be  overlooked  in  scanning  a  figure,  but 
these  may  be  emphasized  in  the  description. 
Moreover,  there  are  features  which  cannot 
be  represented  in  diagrammatic  form,  which 
may  nevertheless  be  very  evident  in  the 
fungus  itself,  such  as  viscidity,  odour,  and 
taste. 

With  one  or  two  exceptions  all  the  figures 
are  representations  of  fungi  which  possess 
a  stem  and  a  pileus,  or  cap.  However 
much  these  may  vary  in  size  and  form, 
they  are  nevertheless  present.  In  the 
majority  of  instances  the  cap,  which  sur- 
mounts the  stem,  is  furnished  on  the  under 
surface  with  numerous  parallel  plates,  or 
gills,  which  radiate  from  the  stem  to  the 
margin  of  the  cap.  The  Common  Mushroom 
is  one  of  this  type  of  gill-bearing  fungi. 
There  are,  however,  a  few  illustrations  of 
species  in  which  the  gills  are  replaced  by 
pores,  the  whole  under  surface  of  the  cap 
being  even,  and  punctured  with  very  numer- 
ous little  holes,  as  if  pricked  with  a  pin,  and 
these  are  the  pore-bearing  fungi,  of  which 


14  PREAMBLE. 

the  Edible  Boletus  is  the  type.  One  other 
example,  that  of  the  Hedgehog  Mushroom, 
illustrates  a  type  in  which  the  gills,  or 
pores,  are  replaced  by  teeth,  or  spines,  which 
beset  the  whole  of  the  under  surface  of  the 
pileus,  or  cap.  These  three  groups  may  be 
distinguished  from  each  other  by  features 
which  are  distinct  and  unmistakable,  so 
that  there  need  not  to  be  a  moment's 
hesitation  in  their  application.  The  few 
additional  forms  which  do  not  conform  to 
any  of  these  groups  need  not  be  mentioned 
here,  but  will  be  described  hereafter  under 
their  separate  names. 

Reverting  to  the  original  definition,  in 
which  a  stem  and  pileus,  or  cap,  are  the 
two  elements,  we  must  remark  that,  in  the 
gill-bearing  fungi,  this  stem  may  have  a 
ring  or  collar  surrounding  it  near  the  apex, 
or  the  ring  may  be  entirely  absent.  This 
is  an  important  feature  in  the  discrimination 
of  species,  since  it  forms  a  part  of  the 
specific  character.  It  is  present  in  the 
Common  Mushroom,  but  it  is  absent  in  the 


PREAMBLE.  15 

Blewits,  not  by  accident,  but  persistently. 
Herein,  then,  we  have  one  valuable  guide 
in  the  discrimination  of  species.  Further- 
more, the  base  of  the  stem,  in  a  few 
instances,  is  enclosed  in  a  sheath,  or  volva, 
which  may  be  comparatively  loose,  and 
distinct,  as  in  the  Buff  Warty  Caps,  or  it 
may  be  closely  adherent,  showing  only  a 
circular  line  or  ring,  as  in  the  Euddy  Warty 
Caps  and  the  Fly  Agaric.  This,  again,  is 
peculiar  only  to  certain  species,  and  should 
be  borne  in  mind.  Appertaining  to  the 
stem,  it  may  be  observed  that  it  is  often 
desirable,  when  the  name  of  a  species 
has  to  be  determined,  to  cut  the  stem 
longitudinally  down  the  middle,  and  by 
this  means  it  will  be  found  that  in  some 
species  the  stem  is  hollow  in  the  centre, 
whilst  in  others  the  stem  is  solid.  All 
these  are  points  which  should  be  borne  in 
mind  by  those  who  have  no  desire  to 
poison  themselves. 

One  other  point  is  of  equal  importance 
to,  if  not  greater  than  any  which  we  have 


1 6  PREAMBLE. 

named,  and  that  is  the  colour  of  the  spores 
produced  by  each  species.  When  any  of 
the  gill-bearing  fungi  are  expanded,  and  near 
maturity,  the  gills  will  be  observed  to  vary 
in  colour,  some  being  white,  and  others  of 
almost  any  tint  of  grey,  or  brown,  to  black. 
But  the  colour  of  the  gills  must  not  be 
relied  upon  as  that  of  the  spores,  for  in 
some  cases  the  gills  may  be  more  or  less 
coloured,  whilst  the  spores  remain  white. 
To  ascertain  accurately  the  colour  of  the 
spores,  the  stem  should  be  cut  off  close  to 
the  under-side  of  the  cap,  and  then  the 
severed  cap  should  be  placed,  with  the 
gills  downward,  upon  a  sheet  of  paper,  and 
permitted  to  remain  in  that,  position  all 
night.  In  the  morning  the  spores  will 
have  fallen  from  the  gills  upon  the  paper, 
outlining  the  form  of  the  cap,  and  showing 
the  radiating  lines  of  the  gills.  If  the 
spores  are  believed  to  be  white,  or  light- 
coloured,  opaque  black  paper  should  be 
employed ;  but  if  very  dark,  or  black,  then 
white  paper  should  be  used.     This  enables 


PREAMBLE.  17 

the  colour  to  be  more  accurately  determined. 
The  whole  series  of  colour  may  be  classed 
in  five  groups — white,  pink  or  salmon, 
rusty-brown,  purple-brown,  and  black.  Of 
course  the  shades  will  vary  in  most  of 
the  groups,  but  especially  in  the  second 
and  third.  It  is  most  important  that  the 
colour  of  the  spores  should  be  determined 
first  of  all,  and  then  it  will  be  less  difficult 
to  discover  the  species  to  which  they  belong. 
A  great  number  of  the  species  with  white 
spores  are  edible,  but  some  are  dangerous, 
so  that  the  colour  of  the  spores  is  not  a 
test  of  quality.  Again,  most  of  the  species 
with  pink  or  salmon-coloured  spores  are 
suspicious,  whilst  two  or  three  are  excellent 
food.  Take,  for  example,  the  Common 
Mushroom,  which  when  young  has  the  gills 
of  a  beautiful  pink  colour ;  as  it  becomes 
older  the  gills  darken,  and  when  the  spores 
are  ripe  enough  to  fall,  they  are  not  pink, 
but  purple-brown.  If  an  inexperienced 
person  finds  a  species  of  "  mushroom,"  or 
fungus   of  the  mushroom   type,   with  pink 

B 


1 8  PREAMBLE. 

gills,  and  thinks,  on  that  account,  it  must 
be  the  Common  Mushroom,  this  method 
should  be  tried,  and  the  colour  of  the  spores 
ascertained,  for  if  the  spores  are  pinkish, 
then  the  fungus  in  question  is  not  the  true 
mushroom,  and  is  possibly  dangerous ;  but 
if  the  spores  are  dark  purple-brown,  not- 
withstanding that  the  gills  were  at  first 
pink,  then  it  is  perfectly  safe.  So  that 
the  colour  of  the  spores  is  a  question  of 
importance,  and  should  not  be  neglected, 
supposing,  of  course,  that  the  person  inter- 
ested is  not  perfectly  sure,  from  experience, 
that  the  right  species  is  under  observation. 
We  have  actually  known  persons  mistake 
white  or  pink-spored  Agarics  for  mush- 
rooms, which  they  could  not  have  done 
had  they  paid  attention  to  the  colour  of 
the  spores.  In  another  instance  we  re- 
member a  foolish  youth  cooking  and  eating 
a  small  species  with  rust-coloured  spores, 
under  the  impression  that  they  were  the 
Fairy  King  Champignon,  which  latter  has 
white   spores.      Fortunately,    in    this   case, 


PREAMBLE.  19 

the  fungus  eaten  was  not  a  poisonous  one, 
but  no  one  had  ever  tested  it,  and  it  was 
regarded  with  suspicion. 

It  is  a  popular  error  that  a  "  mushroom ' 
may  be  distinguished  from  a  "toadstool5 
by  the  cuticle  of  the  cap.  Some  j3ersons 
hold  that  if  the  cuticle,  or  skin,  of  the  cap 
or  pileus  can  be  stripped  off  readily,  then 
the  fungus  in  question  is  an  edible  mush- 
room ;  but  if  it  cannot  be  stripped  off,  in  that 
case  it  is  poisonous.  The  cuticle  is  certainly 
separable  in  the  mushroom,  both  wild  and 
cultivated,  but  in  numerous  instances  where 
it  is  separable  in  other  species,  they  are 
certainly  dangerous ;  whereas  in  some  ex- 
cellent species,  which  are  constantly  eaten, 
there  is  no  separable  cuticle.  A  wag  was 
once  heard  to  declare  that  he  knew  of 
only  one  universal  and  infallible  method 
for  determining  an  edible  from  a  poisonous 
mushroom,  and  that  was  by  eating  it.  If 
it  did  you  no  harm  it  was  edible,  but  if  it 
killed  you,  or  made  you  ill,  then  it  was  unfit 
for  food.    Against  this  experimental  method 


20  .  PREAMBLE. 

we  take  exception  in  favour  of  d  priori 
determination. 

It  should  be  borne  in  mind  that  fungi 
which  grow  upon  trees  are  not  likely  to  be 
found  growing  on  the  ground,  and  that 
those  which  inhabit  pastures  should  not 
be  sought  in  woods.  In  most  species  there 
is  a  great  persistence  in  habit,  and,  not- 
withstanding some  variability  in  form,  size, 
and  colour,  comparative  permanence  in 
character,  or  in  such  characters  as  are 
relied  upon  for  the  discrimination  of  species. 
A  species  which  possesses  a  ring  upon  the 
stem,  for  instance,  or  warts  upon  the 
pileus,  always  has  them,  unless  denuded 
by  accident.  Hence  the  different  species 
may  be  distinguished  by  specific  characters, 
as  in  plants  of  a  higher  organization,  so 
that  the  ordinary  process  of  determination, 
as  employed  in  other  departments  of  botany, 
is  equally  applicable  here,  and  the  results 
are  equally  satisfactory. 

The  assumption  that  fungi  of  the  same 
species,  growing  in  different  localities,  may 


PREAMBLE.  2 1 

be  so  modified  by  circumstances  as  to  lose 
or  acquire  poisonous  properties,  has  not  been 
established.  One  of  our  most  virulent 
native  species  has  undoubtedly  been  eaten 
in  Kussia  with  no  disagreeable  results,  but 
there  is  no  evidence  that  the  character  of 
the  fungus  had  changed,  whilst  there  is 
every  reason  to  believe  that  the  process 
of  cooking  adopted  was  calculated  to  produce 
such  results.  It  is  very  probable  that  the 
poisonous  principle  existing  in  any  fungus, 
as  it  is  grown,  may  be  neutralized  by  the 
use  of  acids  or  alkalies.  Fungi  of  the 
mushroom  type  grow  rapidly,  and  rapidly 
decay.  Chemical  change  taking  place  so 
readily,  it  is  important  that  this  class  of 
food  should  be  cooked  as  speedily  as 
possible  after  it  is  gathered,  before  any 
appreciable  change  takes  place.  It  is  by 
no  means  certain  that  stale  mushrooms  are 
innocuous,  and,  in  some  cases  where  mush- 
rooms have  been  accused  of  producing 
unpleasant  effects  on  delicate  constitutions, 
it   is  possible   that   the   cause  was  not   in 


22  PREAMBLE. 

the  mushrooms  originally,  but  was  developed 
by  incipient  decay. 

We  would  fain  dispel  the  illusion  that 
the  Common  Mushroom  is  the  type  to  which 
all  edible  fungi  must  conform,  and  that 
all  others  should  be  compared  with  it. 
There  are  some  which  are  of  the  same 
flavour,  or  closely  resemble  it,  whilst  there 
are  others  of  a  wholly  different  kind.  Much 
disappointment  is  liable  to  follow  if,  in  all 
cases,  it  is  expected  to  meet  with  the 
mushroom  in  some  modified  form.  There 
is  as  much  difference  in  the  peculiar  flavour 
of  different  species  as  there  is  in  the  different 
kinds  of  flesh.  No  one  would  be  satisfied 
if  veal  tasted  like  mutton,  or  roast  pork 
like  roast  beef,  and  there  is  just  as  much 
difference  in  the  various  kinds  of  edible 
fungi.  In  some  of  them  the  flavour  is 
completely  novel,  and  produces  a  new 
sensation — for  instance,  there  is  not  the 
least  resemblance  between  the  Puff  Ball 
and  the  ordinary  mushroom,  or  between 
the   latter   and   the    Hedgehog.      It   is   in 


PREAMBLE.  23 

this  great  variety  that  much  of  the  charm 
lies,  otherwise  it  would  be  better  to  adhere 
to  the  ordinary  mushroom  than  venture 
upon  others  which  would  be  no  better  than 
substitutes.  In  tasting  of  a  new  dish, 
therefore,  it  is  better  to  forget  the  old  one 
for  the  time,  and  expect  to  partake  of 
something  which  has  to  rest  upon  its  own 
merits,  and  not  upon  its  resemblance  to 
anything  else. 

As  a  natural  consequence  of  this  variety 
of  flavour,  it  is  essential  that  each  species 
should  be  used  by  itself,  and  not  mixed, 
several  kinds  together,  in  a  sort  of  hotch- 
potch, where  no  particular  flavour  prevails, 
but  all  are  reduced  to  a  horrible  mediocrity. 
A  professed  fungus-eater  would  no  more 
think  of  sitting  down  to  a  dish  compounded 
indiscriminately  of  half-a-dozen  species, 
than  would  a  gourmet  of  mixing  his  wines, 
or  combining  his  venison  with  his  salmon 
and  turkey. 

Much  of  the  excellence  of  a  dish  of  fungi 
depends   upon   the   cook,    for   a   bad   cook 


24  PREAMBLE. 

will  spoil  the  best  dish  that  was  ever 
invented.  It  is  no  part  of  our  present 
design  to  give  special  instructions  in  the 
art  of  cooking  mushrooms,  but  there  is  an 
art  in  it  which  makes  all  the  difference. 
Frankly,  the  ordinary  domestic  cook,  without 
special  experience,  never  succeeds  well  even 
with  the  Common  Mushroom ;  it  requires 
a  kitchen  genius  to  present  them  at  their 
best.  We  never  deemed  it  possible  for 
Chantarelles  to  be  so  delicious  as  we  tasted 
them  once,  when  manipulated  by  an  old 
cook  from  a  Swiss  Hotel,  who  chanced  to 
be  in  the  way,  and  volunteered  to  under- 
take the  task  con  amove.  It  has  been  said 
that  "  mushrooms  are  the  gift  of  Nature, 
but  a  good  cook  is  the  gift  of  God." 

In  uttering  a  protest  against  grilling,  or 
frying  in  an  open  pan,  so  that  much  of 
the  aroma  and  flavour  disappears  up  the 
chimney,  we  may  suggest  an  improved 
method,  which  is  applicable  to  many  kinds. 
Lay  the  mushrooms,  when  wiped,  sliced, 
or  otherwise   prepared,  in  a  shallow   dish, 


PREAMBLE.  25 

sprinkle  with  salt  and  pepper,  and  place  a 
small  piece  of  butter  on  each,  cover  closely 
with  a  plate,  and  place  them  in  an  oven,  so 
that  they  are  cooked  gradually,  and  all  the 
aroma  and  flavour  is  retained.  Serve  them 
hot,  in  the  same  dish,  and  without  un- 
covering. Even  this  method  is  not  equally 
good  for  every  kind,  but  it  is  the  only 
general  one  which  we  can  recommend. 

Finally,  we  must  assume  that  all  who 
use  this  little  book  will  have  arrived  at 
the  age  of  discretion,  and  that  there  is  no 
occasion  to  urge  upon  them  the  exercise 
of  common-sense.  Punishment  will  follow 
inordinate  indulgence  in  any  of  the  good 
things  of  this  life,  and  those  who  disregard 
reason,  and  are  intern perate  in  eating  fungi, 
must  expect  to  suffer  from  repletion  and  in- 
digestion. It  is  essential  to  insist  upon  an 
avoidance  of  all  unknown  or  doubtful  kinds 
Ordinary  care  and  judgment  are  sufficient 
to  avoid  danger,  but  so  many  persons 
neglect  ordinary  care  and  tempt  misfortune 
by    indiscretion,    that    it    is    necessary    to 


26  PREAMBLE. 

repeat  caution  against  foolish  experiments'. 
Be  sure  to  know  and  distinguish  your 
mushrooms  first,  and  eat  them  afterwards, 
but  do  not  rely  upon  a  fancied  external 
appearance,  without  comparing  them  with 
the  written  description,  unless  they  have 
been  guaranteed  and  recommended  by  some 
competent  person.  There  is  no  more  danger 
of  eating  bad  funsri  than  of  eating  bad 
fish,  if  the  same  amount  of  discrimination 
is  exercised.  Better  to  be  too  .timid,  as 
some  are,  and  refuse  to  eat  mushrooms  at 
all,  than  to  be  too  reckless,  and  nesdect  the 
simplest  precautions  to  ensure  safety. 


EDIBLE  AND  POISONOUS  MUSHROOMS. 


EDIBLE  MUSHROOMS. 

The  number  of  kinds  here  enumerated  is 
comparatively  small,  but  it  includes  all  tlie 
best,  the  most  available,  and  indeed  all  that 
are  essential  to  be  popularly  known,  of  the 
two  hundred,  and  upwards,  of  edible  species 
hitherto  known  to  have  occurred  in  the 
British  Islands.  The  residue  consists  of 
such  kinds  as  are  of  inferior  quality,  and 
largely  of  species  which  have  been  found  so 
rarely  that  their  mention  could  have  served 
no  useful  purpose.  Undoubtedly  it  is  more 
satisfactory  that  some  twenty  or  thirty 
sound  species  should,  be  known  and  recog- 
nized, especially  if   sufficiently  common  to 


28      EDIBLE   AND    POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 

be  within  the  reach  of  all,  than  that  even 
three  times  that  number  should  have  been 
described,  which  perhaps  have  never  been 
met  with  but  two  or  three  times,  and 
may  possibly  never  occur  again.  It  may 
be  taken  for  granted  that  no  species  has 
been  omitted  which  can  be  favourably  re- 
commended, or  which  is  sufficiently  common 
to  be  encountered,  in  ordinarily  favourable 
seasons,  in  congenial  localities.  Again,  it  is 
uro-ed  on  all  to  learn  to  discriminate  a  few 
of  the  very  best  kinds,  without  fear  of  error, 
and  confine  attention  to  those,  and  neglect 
the  rest. 


EDIBLE   MUSHROOMS.  29 


RUDDY  WARTY  CAPS. 

Agaricus  (Amanita)  rubescens. 

(Plate  I.  Fig.  1.) 

This  excellent  esculent  is  one  of  the 
commonest,  under  trees,  from  early  summer 
to  late  autumn.  The  cap  is  of  a  peculiar 
reddish-grey  colour,  sprinkled  with  numerous 
paler  warts.  The  substance  is  firm  and 
robust,  at  first  whitish,  then  tinged  with 
red,  especially  where  touched  or  bruised, 
and  at  the  basis  of  the  stem,  where  an 
obscure  scaly  circle  represents  the  margin 
of  the  adnate  volva.  The  stem  is  thick, 
tapering  upwards,  having  near  the  apex  a 
large  white  pendulous  collar,  or  ring.  The 
gills  are  broad,  reaching  nearly  to  the  stem, 
but  not  attached  to  it,  white  at  first,  but 
turning  reddish  when  bruised.  The  tone  of 
red  is  that  of  brick-red,  and  not  scarlet  or 
crimson.  Sometimes  it  will  stand  about 
five  inches  high,  with  an  expanded  cap  of 
three   or    four   inches.     The   flesh   is   very 


30      EDIBLE   AND    POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 

susceptible  of  becoming  "  maggoty J  when 
old,  and  it  should  always  be  collected  for 
the  table  before  the  cap  is  fully  expanded, 
and  then  it  is  perfectly  wholesome.  The 
flavour  is  mild,  but  both  in  odour  and  taste 
less  aromatic  than  the  Common  Mushroom. 
Although  the  younger  specimens,  when  the 
cap  is  hemispherical,  are  to  be  preferred  for 
cooking,  the  older  and  more  expanded, 
when  not  attacked  by  insects,  will  make 
excellent  ketchup.  There  is  no  fear  of 
confounding  the  present  with  any  other 
species  if  only  ordinary  care  is  exercised, 
and  we  have  never  heard  of  its  disagreeing 
with  any  one  who  has  partaken  of  it. 


EDIBLE   MUSHROOMS.  31 


DELICIOUS   MILK-MUSHROOM. 

Lactarius  deliciosus. 

(Plate  I.  Fig.  2.) 

The  Milk-Mushrooms  (Lactarius)  differ 
from  all  others  in  containing  a  white,  or 
coloured,  milk,  which  oozes  out  freely  when 
cut  or  wounded.  The  present  species  only 
grows  under  fir-trees,  somewhat  earlier  than 
the  general  crop  of  fungi,  being  in  greatest 
plenty  about  August  or  early  in  September. 
It  is  firm  and  solid  in  texture,  with  a  very 
short  stem,  so  that  the  cap  is  close  to  the 
ground,  about  two  or  three  inches  in 
diameter,  pale  brick-red,  with  a  tinge  of 
orange,  usually  marked  with  darker  zones ; 
the  centre  of  the  cap  is  depressed,  and  the 
margins  curved  inwards.  The  whole  plant 
abounds  with  an  orange  milk,  which  exudes 
when  cut  or  wounded,  and  on  exposure  soon 
turns  green,  so  that  the  fungus  appears  to 
be  stained  green.  There  is  no  other  fungus 
possessing  an  orange  milk  which   becomes 


32      EDIBLE   AND   POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 

green.  This  milk,  and  the  mushroom  itself, 
has  a  rather  biting  taste  when  fresh,  but 
this  disappears  with  cooking.  It  requires 
great  care  and  delicacy  in  cooking  or  it 
becomes  tough  and  indigestible,  but  with 
good  manipulation  it  furnishes  a  delicious 
dish.  The  most  successful  method  is  that 
of  cutting  into  uniform  segments,  and 
placing  the  pieces  in  a  dish,  with  pepper 
and  salt,  and  a  small  piece  of  butter  to 
every  group.  Cover  the  dish,  and  bake 
very  gently  for  three-quarters  of  an  hour, 
without  uncovering,  to  be  served  at  once  in 
the  same  hot  dish.  There  are  other  methods, 
but,  in  all,  the  golden  rule  is  to  cook 
gradually  and  slowly,  and  serve  hot. 


EDIBLE   MUSHROOMS.  33 


COMMON  MUSHROOM. 

Agaricus  (Psalliota)  campestris. 

(Plate  I.  Fig.  3.) 

Very  little  description  is  needed  for  this 
well-known  species,  the  marvel  being  how 
any  one  can  possibly  confound  it  with  any 
other  kind,  and  yet  we  read  occasionally 
of  mishaps  from  eating  something  else  in 
mistake.  The  stem  is  surrounded  by  a 
well-defined  collar  or  ring,  the  gills  are  of 
a  delicate  pink  when  young,  becoming  at 
length  of  a  deep  brown ;  the  cap  is  some- 
times smooth  and  sometimes  more  or  less 
scaly,  with  a  separable  cuticle ;  the  odour 
is  distinct  and  fragrant,  and  the  taste,  when 
raw,  nutty  and  pleasant.  The  kind  sold  so 
commonly  by  greengrocers  in  London,  by 
no  means  attractive  in  appearance,  consists 
for  the  most  part  of  the  Horse  Mushroom. 
In  the  markets  of  provincial  towns  we  have 
only  seen  the  true  mushroom  exposed  for 
sale,  as  the  Horse  Mushroom  is  considered 


34      EDIBLE   AND    POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 

by  country  people  as  only  fit  for  ketchup. 
The  price  varies  in  London,  as  elsewhere. 
We  have  been  asked  2^d.  per  jDound  in 
Hereford  Market  on  one  day,  and  found  an 
inferior  article  being  sold  in  London  the 
next  day  at  eightpence  per  pound.  We 
have  noted  the  price  in  Paris  on  two  or 
three  occasions,  and  found  it  one -half  the 
price  demanded  in  London  at  the  same  time, 
where,  one  year  in  particular,  the  price  was 
ranging  from  one  shilling  and  eightpence 
to  two  shillings  per  pound  in  Co  vent  Garden 
Market.  It  is  the  general  opinion  with 
connoisseurs  that  the  wild  mushroom  is 
much  more  delicate  and  of  better  flavour 
than  the  cultivated  varieties,  and  less  liable 
to  disagree  with  delicate  stomachs.  Occa- 
sionally  a  dark-brown  scaly-capped  variety 
may  be  found  in  parks,  with  pink  gills, 
which  is  scarcely  wholesome. 


PL.  1. 


EDIBLE    MUSHROOMS. 


EDIBLE    MUSHROOMS.  35 


PARASOL  MUSHROOM. 

Agaricus  (Lepiota)  procerus. 

(Plate  II.  Fig.  1.) 

The  Parasol  Mushroom  is  so  designated 
from  its  erect,  straight,  slender  stem  and 
expanded  cap,  not  very  unlike  the  object 
after  which  it  derives  its  name.  It  is  not 
uncommon  in  summer  and  early  autumn, 
mostly  amongst  dead  leaves,  and  occasion- 
ally attains  a  large  size,  with  a  stem  ten 
inches  long,  and  a  cap  six  inches  broad. 
Sometimes  it  will  be  found  in  pastures  and 
under  trees,  and  is  of  a  very  dry  texture, 
shrivelling  when  old  before  it  decays.  The 
top  of  the  pileus  is  conical  and  dark,  but 
the  rest  is  paler  and  silky,  covered  with 
scattered  darker  scaly  patches.  The  gills 
are  white  and  broad,  narrowed  towards 
each  end,  and  not  reaching  the  stem,  which 
consequently  appears  to  be  sunk  into  the 
cap,  with  a  hollow  all  round  it.  The  base 
of  the    stem    is    bulbous,    and,    for    some 


36      EDIBLE   AND    POISONOUS   MUSHROOMS. 

distance  up  it,  is  marked  with  striate, 
irregular  bands ;  above  the  middle  the  stem 
is  girt  by  a  large  collar  or  ring,  which  at 
length  frees  itself  from  the  stem.  The 
spores,  like  the  gills,  are  white.  The  flesh 
is  white,  and  rather  soft,  with  a  tendency 
to  change  colour  when  exposed  to  the  air, 
and  the  centre  of  the  stem  is  hollow. 
Divested  of  the  stem,  and  a  little  butter 
put  in  its  place,  with  pepper  and  salt,  it 
may  be  grilled  and  served  on  toast,  when  it 
forms  a  pleasing  breakfast  dish,  hardly  to 
be  surpassed  by  any  of  our  ordinary  species. 
The  flavour  is  mild  and  delicate,  with  the 
odour  of  the  mushroom  when  brought  to 
the  table.  As  far  as  our  experience  goes, 
it  is  a  universal  favourite. 


EDIBLE    MUSHROOMS.  37 


ST.   GEORGE'S   MUSHROOM. 

Agaricus  (Tricholoma)  gambosus. 

(Plate  II.  Fig.  2.) 

There  are  not  many  mushrooms  in  the 
spring,  and  to  possess  a  really  good  sub- 
stitute on  St.  George's  Day  is  a  decided 
advantage,  only  that  the  St.  George's 
Mushroom  appears  to  be  provokingly  local. 
The  cap  reaches  to  three  or  four  inches  in 
diameter,  and  it  is  of  a  creamy  whiteness 
in  every  part,  sometimes  with  a  darker 
tinge  on  the  top  of  the  cap.  Altogether, 
it  is  of  a  robust  habit,  and  a  peculiarly 
strong  odour,  more  penetrating  than  that  of 
any  other  mushroom  with  which  we  are 
acquainted.  It  comes  up  in  rings  on  rich 
pastures,  and  even  the  spawn,  or  mycelium, 
possesses  the  strong  odour.  The  margin 
of  the  pileus  has  a  constant  tendency  to 
curve  inwards,  the  gills  and  spores  are 
white,  and  the  stem  has  no  trace  of  a  collar, 
or  ring.     There  is  an  abundance    of  thick 


38      EDIBLE    AND    POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 

flesh,  which  is  about  an  inch  thick  in  the 
centre  of  the  pileus,  and  remarkably  firm  ; 
it  may  even  be  cut  in  slices  and  dried  for 
winter  use.  On  one  occasion  a  good  friend 
in  the  north  sent  us  a  hamper  of  speci- 
mens for  the  table,  as  it  is  rare  in  the 
neighbourhood  of  London,  but  the  odour 
was  so  powerful  and  oppressive  that  the 
house  was  soon  filled  with  it,  and  we 
were  compelled  to  transfer  the  mushrooms 
to  an  outhouse  until  the  hour  of  sacrifice 
arrived.  The  nearest  species  with  which 
it  can  be  compared  is  the  Blewits,  but  the 
latter  is  an  autumnal,  and  this  a  spring 
species.  Moreover,  there  is  no  tinge  of 
lilac  in  the  St.  George's  Mushroom,  and  the 
odour  of  the  Blewits  is  far  less  intense. 


PL.   2, 


EDIBLE    MUSHROOMS. 


EDIBLE   MUSHROOMS.  39 


BLUE  CAPS. 

Agaricus  (Tricholoma)  nudus. 

(Plate  III.  Fig.  I.) 

The  Blue  Caps  are  mostly  found,  grow- 
ing in  company,  amongst  dead  leaves,  or 
even  on  the  ground,  in  woods  and  shady 
places.  The  entire  plant,  when  well  grown, 
is  of  a  beautiful  lilac  colour,  but  the  top  of 
the  cap  soon  shows  a  tendency  to  turn  of  a 
dull  reddish,  or  vinous  colour.  Usually  the 
cap  is  from  two  to  three  inches  in  diameter, 
but  we  have  seen  them  attain  to  six  inches, 
often  contorted  through  growing  in  tufts. 
The  spores  are  white,  and  the  stem  has  no 
collar  or  ring.  The  flesh  is  firm  and  solid, 
of  the  same  tint,  but  paler  than  the  exterior, 
and  there  is  a  slight  mealy  odour.  This 
species  is  often  found  with  the  Dusky 
Caps,  but  is  commonly  smaller,  and  of  a 
different  colour,  although  there  is  a  great 
similarity  in  flavour  when  cooked.  The 
tone   of    colour   is   never   a    decided   blue, 


40      EDIBLE    AND    POISONOUS   MUSHROOMS. 

but  almost  amethystine.  Dead  leaves  which 
have  drifted  into  a  ditch,  or  have  accumu- 
lated in  heaps  to  rot,  in  the  corners  of 
large  gardens  and  recreation  grounds,  are 
favourite  localities  for  these  two  species. 
We  have  always  preferred  specimens  before 
they  are  quite  fully  grown,  or  the  lilac 
colour  changes  to  vinous  red,  for  the  table, 
and  then  they  are  mild  and  luscious, 
especially  when  grilled  and  served  on  toast. 
It  must  be  remembered  that  as  fruits  differ 
from  each  other  in  flavour,  according  to  the 
species  or  varieties,  so  also  do  the  edible 
fungi,  and  that  the  flavour  of  one  species  is 
not  found  in  another,  so  that  no  single 
species  can  be  set  up  as  a  standard  for 
comparison.  Fruits  that  are  not  peaches, 
or  apricots,  may  be  very  good  plums. 


EDIBLE   MUSHROOMS.  41 


FAIRY  RING   CHAMPIGNON. 

Marasmius  oreades. 

(Plate  III.  Fig.  2.) 

This  species  is  extensively  known,  grow- 
ing in  clusters,  and  forming  rings,  or  parts 
of  rings,  on  lawns,  and  in  old  pastures, 
sometimes  by  the  roadsides,  but  not  in 
woods.  It  is  rather  an  early  species,  being 
found  in  summer,  and  becoming  rare  in 
September.  Its  whole  substance  is  dry  and 
elastic,  but  not  fragile ;  a  dozen  may  be 
carried  in  the  pocket  without  breaking,  and 
it  dries  so  readily  that  it  may  be  kept  for 
winter  use.  Its  usual  size  is  about  one  inch 
in  diameter  of  the  cap,  but  sometimes  double 
that  size.  The  pileus  is  convex,  with  a  little 
depression  round  the  centre,  and  of  a  pale 
tan-colour  when  moist,  or  warm  ochre  when 
dry.  The  stem  is  slender,  equal,  solid,  and 
white,  very  faintly  woolly,  but  naked  at  the 
base.  The  gills  are  broad,  rather  distant 
apart,  with  shorter  ones  between,  and  nearly 


42      EDIBLE   AND    POISONOUS   MUSHROOMS. 

white,  or  with  a  faint  tinge  of  pale  primrose, 
the  spores  being  white.  There  is  a  peculiar 
fragrance,  not  distinctly  sweet-scented,  but 
rather  "  mushroomy,"  and  the  flavour  is 
mild.  The  dry  substance  of  the  entire 
fungus  is  an  indication  that  care  must  be 
employed  in  cooking  to  prevent  its  becom- 
ing tough.  Some  persons  are  more  enthusi- 
astic than  ourselves  in  adulation  of  this 
esculent,  and  have  declared  it  to  be  "  the 
verv  best  of  all  our  fun  on."  It  is  most 
useful  for  flavouring:,  will  furnish  an 
excellent  white  sauce  akin  to  ketchup,  is 
invariably  safe,  but  is  better  for  immediate 
use  when  collected  in  moist  weather,  and 
then,  broiled  in  butter,  it  is  highly  com- 
mended. With  common-sense  and  moderate 
care  it  is  hardly  possible  to  confound  it 
with  any  other  species. 


EDIBLE   MUSHROOMS.  43 


BLEWITS. 

Agaricus  (Tricholoma)  personatus. 

(Plate  III.  Fig.  3.) 

In  external  form  and  size,  the  Blewits 
resembles  the  Common  Mushroom,  but  with 
these  important  differences,  that  the  gills 
are  whitish,  and  the  spores  are  white ;  the 
stem  has  no  collar,  or  ring,  and  is  tinged 
with  lilac.  It  more  nearly  resembles  the 
St.  George's  Mushroom,  only  that  it  is 
autumnal ;  commonly  it  is  about  three 
inches  across,  and  is  to  be  found  on  downs 
and  short  pastures.  The  flesh  is  thick  and 
firm,  with  a  mushroomy  odour.  The  top  of 
the  pileus  is  generally  greyish,  and  quite 
smooth,  and  it  absorbs  water  very  readily, 
so  as  to  become  sodden  in  wet  weather,  and 
then  of  but  little  account.  It  has  been 
stated  that  it  was  formerly  sold  in  Co  vent 
Garden  Market,  but  that  has  not  been  the 
case  during  the  past  forty  years  ;  neverthe- 
less it  is  commonly  sold,  under  the  name  of 


44      EDIBLE   AND   POISONOUS   MUSHROOMS. 

Blewits,  in  Nottingham  Market  at  the 
present  day,  and  is  recognized  and  eaten 
by  the  inhabitants.  It  is  not  every  one 
who  will  approve  of  this  species,  as  it  has  a 
rather  peculiar  flavour,  but  when  collected 
in  dry  weather  it  will  be  the  fault  of  the 
cook  if  it  does  not  furnish  an  appetizing 
meal.  We  are  not  at  all  sure  that  the 
complaint  which  has  been  urged  against  it 
may  not  be  true — that  it  is  heavy,  and  not 
so  easy  of  digestion  as  some  other  species. 
It  is  easy  of  recognition,  and  the  Notting- 
ham people  will  bear  testimony  to  its  good 
character. 

Since  the  above  was  written  we  have 
had  ocular  demonstration  that  it  is  possible 
for  this  species  to  be  found  in  April,  but 
the  specimens  were  small. 


PL.  3. 


EDIBLE    MUSHRCCMS, 


EDIBLE   MUSHROOMS.  45 


DUSKY   CAPS. 

Agaricus  (Clitocybe)  nebular  is. 

(Plate  IV.  Fig.  1.) 

The  Dusky  Caps  are  not  uncommon  late 
in  autumn,  mostly  growing  on  dead  leaves 
on  the  borders  of  woods,  or  on  rubbish 
heaps  in  the  corners  of  large  gardens.  The 
cap  is  of  a  cloudy  grey  colour,  and  from 
three  to  six  inches  in  diameter,  soon  be- 
coming nearly  flat,  and  often  with  a  frosted 
surface,  as  if  dusted  with  flour.  The  gills 
run  for  a  considerable  distance  down  the 
stem,  which  latter  is  a  little  thickened  at 
the  base,  and  wholly  deficient  of  a  ring. 
The  gills  and  spores  are  white.  When  cut 
in  section  the  white  flesh  is  seen  to  be  firm 
and  thick,  and  it  has  a  heavy  but  not  dis- 
agreeable odour.  Nearly  always  a  number 
of  specimens  will  be  found  growing  together, 
so  that  we  have  seen  sufficient  to  fill 
a  bushel  basket  within  the  space  of  two 
or   three  square  yards.     Another   brighter 


46      EDIBLE    AND    POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 

coloured  species,  the  Blue  Caps,  is  often 
found  with  it  in  the  same  localities.  Some 
Continental  writers  have  expressed  a  doubt 
as  to  its  esculent  qualities,  but  we  have 
eaten  of  it  more  than  of  almost  any  other 
wild  species,  and  found  it  constantly  agree- 
able, and  perfectly  safe.  For  a  breakfast 
relish  we  have  always  relied  upon  this, 
the  Parasol  Mushroom,  the  Ruddy  Warty 
Caps,  and  the  Shaggy  Caps  as  the  most 
available  and  satisfactory.  We  have  eaten 
of  the  present  species  a  fortnight  before 
Christmas,  in  one  eventful  year,  when  the 
frosts  were  not  severe.  One  or  two  corre- 
spondents have  complained  of  the  heaviness 
of  this  species,  and  that  it  produces  a 
feeling  akin  to  dyspepsia ;  but  we  have  had 
no  such  experience,  after  consuming  it 
almost  daily  for  a  fortnight. 


EDIBLE    MUSHROOMS.  47 


VEGETABLE  BEEF-STEAK. 

Fistulina  liepatica, 

(Plate  IY.  Fig.  2.) 

Ox-tongue,  Tree-liver,  or  Vegetable  Beef- 
steak, are  all  names  which  have  been 
applied  to  this  esculent,  which  is  found  in 
autumn  growing  out  of  the  trunk  of  very 
old  oaks.  Year  after  year  it  has  been 
known  to  appear  on  the  same  tree,  of 
course  upon  a  decaying  spot,  and  then  it  is 
not  unlike  a  large  tongue,  or  a  piece  of 
liver  thrust  out  from  the  tree,  and  exuding 
a  juice  when  wounded.  The  upper  surface 
is  rather  sticky  and  liver-coloured,  the 
under  surface  paler  and  flesh-coloured  ;  when 
cut  the  inner  substance  is  mottled,  re- 
sembling beet-root.  There  are  no  gills, 
but  the  under  surface  is  composed  of  little 
tubes,  glued  together  side  by  side,  almost 
like  those  of  a  Boletus,  but  separating  more 
easily.  In  some  places  the  flesh  is  sliced 
when  raw,  and  eaten  in   salads  like   beet. 


48      EDIBLE   AND    POISONOUS   MUSHROOMS. 

The  more  usual  method  is  to  employ  it 
cooked  as  a  sauce,  for  it  is  not  of  a  kind 
suitable  to  eat  by  itself,  but  when  cut  in 
slices  and  broiled  with  steak  it  gives  an 
excellent  sauce.  There  is  no  resemblance 
whatever  to  the  mushroom  flavour,  or 
odour,  but  a  slight  acidity  of  taste ;  with 
that  exception,  it  is  most  like  beef  gravy. 
It  differs  in  another  respect  from  all  other 
fungi,  that  it  is  in  its  prime  for  cook- 
ing when  thoroughly  matured  and  almost 
verging  on  decay.  When  very  young  it  is 
disagreeable,  and,  until  quite  mature,  will 
retain  some  astringency,  suggesting  the 
tannin  of  the  oak. 


PL.  4. 


EDIBLE    MUSHROOMS. 


EDIBLE   MUSHROOMS.  49 


HORSE  MUSHROOM. 

Agaricus  (Psalliota)  arvensis. 

(Plate  V.  Fig.  1.) 

The  Horse  Mushroom  is  larger  than  the 
Common  Mushroom,  and  the  gills  are  not 
at  first  pink,  but  of  a  dirty  white.  We 
have  found  it  to  be  the  common  species 
in  marshes,  where  it  will  reach  a  diameter 
of  from  seven  to  nine  inches,  and  more ; 
growing  occasionally  in  rings,  or  parts 
of  rings,  and  with  a  much  stronger  odour 
than  the  Common  Mushroom.  The  cap  is 
quite  smooth,  and  soft  like  kid-leather, 
with  a  yellowish  tint,  and  no  indication  of 
scales.  The  stem  has  a  large,  ragged  collar 
or  ring,  and  the  interior  is  spongy  at  the 
centre.  It  has  a  tendency  to  become  pale 
brownish  when  cut  or  bruised.  For  eating, 
these  caps  are  certainly  to  be  preferred 
before  they  are  fully  expanded  and  flattened. 
The  stem  and  the  thick  centre  of  the  cap 
are  liable  to  be  perforated  by  insects,  and 

D 


50      EDIBLE    AND    POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 

become  "  worm-eaten ''  when  they  are  fully 
matured.  This  is  the  species  commonly 
sold  as  "  mushrooms '  in  London,  except 
the  cultivated  varieties,  which  are  found  in 
the  best  places  and  at  the  best  prices.  It 
is  preferred  in  country  districts  for  ketchup, 
where  it  is  seldom  eaten,  on  the  ground 
that  it  is  coarse  and  strong.  Some  of  the 
most  experienced  of  fungus-eaters  prefer 
it,  however,  to  every  other  species,  except- 
ing the  rare  Agaricus  Elvensis,  which  is 
acknowledged  to  be  the  "  mushroom  royal." 
It  must  be  remembered  that  neither  this 
species  nor  the  Common  Mushroom  grow 
habitually  in  woods,  but  in  open  grassy 
places,  old  pastures,  parks,  and  meadows. 


EDIBLE   MUSHROOMS.  51 


HEDGEHOG  MUSHROOM. 

Hydnum  repandum. 

(Plate  V.  Fig.  2.) 

The  Hedgehog  Mushroom  furnishes  an 
example  of  a  very  different  type  of  structure 
to  that  of  the  Common  Mushroom,  in  that 
the  under  surface  of  the  pileus,  which  in 
the  mushroom  is  occupied  by  gills,  is  in 
this  instance  replaced  by  spines,  thickly 
set  together,  and  finally  covered  with 
spores.  This  fungus  grows  in  woods  and 
by  shady  roadsides  in  the  autumn.  It  is 
entirely  of  one  colour,  which  is  something 
of  a  pinkish-cream  colour,  and  the  pileus 
is  seldom  regular,  often  lobed,  contorted, 
and  tuberculose ;  sometimes  two  or  three 
individuals  are  confluent  into  one  ;  the  stem 
is  rather  thick,  solid,  and  irregular.  The 
spines  being  attended  to,  it  is  scarcely 
possible  to  confound  this  with  any  other 
species.  It  is  peppery  to  the  taste  when 
raw,  in  which   condition  we   have   known 


52      EDIBLE   AND    POISONOUS   MUSHEOOMS. 

of  thin  slices  being  inserted  in  a  meat 
sandwich.  When  cooked,  there  still  re- 
mains a  little  of  the  original  pungency, 
unless  the  fungus  is  sliced  and  steeped  in 
water  all  night,  which  some  regard  as  an 
improvement.  In  this  instance  also,  as  in 
one  or  two  others  which  we  have  alluded 
to,  the  flavour  is  entirely  different  from, 
and  cannot  be  compared  with,  that  of  the 
ordinary  mushroom.  The  Hedgehog  is 
probably  more  suited  as  a  condiment,  or 
as  an  addition  to  stews,  than  as  a  separate 
dish,  although  in  the  latter  condition  we 
consider  it  irreproachable.  Stewed  in  milk, 
we  have  known  it  served  at  a  public  dinner. 
It  is  one  of  the  species  which  may  be  sliced 
and  dried  for  winter  consumption. 


EDIBLE    MUSHROOMS.  53 


IVORY  CAPS. 

Hygro-jphorus  virgineus. 

(Plate  V.  Fig.  3.) 

This  is  one  of  the  snowy  white  species 
which  ornament  lawns,  and  short  pastures, 
in  the  autumn  for  some  time  after  the 
appearance  of  frost.  Most  of  them  are 
covered  with  a  viscid  moisture,  like  gum- 
water,  and  it  is  probably  that  which  pro- 
tects them  from  injury  by  the  light  frosts. 
This  is  comparatively  small,  commonly  about 
one  inch  across  the  pileus,  but  occasionally 
two  or  three  inches.  The  gills  are  broad, 
wide  apart,  and  veined,  and  the  spores  are 
quite  white.  The  stem  is  short,  but  firm, 
attenuated  downwards,  and  the  gills  run 
about  half-way  down.  We  have  never 
detected  any  odour,  and  the  taste  is  mild. 
There  is  no  doubt  that  all  these  white 
species,  which  are  in  the  habit  of  decorating 
lawns  in  the  latter  part  of  the  year,  are 
quite  harmless,  and  some  of  them  delicate 


54      EDIBLE   AND   POISONOUS   MUSHROOMS. 

and  pleasant,  but  a  great  number  must  be 
collected  to  furnish  a  moderate  dish,  and 
hence  they  are  not  often  consigned  to  the 
kitchen,  save  in  the  absence  of  larger 
species.  A  large  and  bright-red  species, 
with  a  conical  cap  (Hygrophorus  coccineus), 
and  gills  inclining  to  orange,  affords  a  mild 
and  delicate  dish,  but  the  quantity  is 
generally  limited. 


PL.   5. 


EDIBLE    MUSHROOMS. 


EDIBLE    MUSHROOMS.  55 


INKY  MUSHROOM. 

Coprinus  atramentarius. 

(Plate  VI.  Fig.  1.) 

Of  all  edible  species  this  is  probably  the 
one  to  which  a  novice  would  take  exception, 
as  being  so  utterly  a  "  toadstool 5:  in  ap- 
pearance as  to  banish  all  desire  to  test  its 
qualities.  In  this  instance,  as  in  some 
others,  a  foregone  conclusion  would  prove 
to  be  wrong,  for,  notwithstanding  its  weird 
and  uncanny  look,  it  is  but  little,  if  at  all, 
inferior  to  the  Shaggy  Caps,  to  which  it 
is  closely  related.  The  group  to  which  it 
belongs  has  the  peculiarity  that  when  the 
spores  are  quite  mature  the  gills  dissolve 
and  fall  away  like  drops  of  ink.  Clusters 
of  this  fungus,  densely  packed  together, 
spring  from  buried  wood,  or  the  bottom  of 
old  posts.  The  cap  is  bell-shaped,  of  a 
smooth  shining  grey,  almost  mouse-colour, 
perched  on  the  top  of  a  long  white  stem. 
Sometimes  the  cap  is  as  large  as  an  inverted 


56      EDIBLE   AND    POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 

teacup,  often  no  larger  than  a  wine-glass ; 
the  broad  gills  at  first  are  dirty  white, 
gradually  growing  deeper  in  colour  until 
they  become  black.  Before  the  gills  lose 
their  pale  colour  they  are  in  their  prime 
for  culinary  purposes,  and  should  be  wiped 
clean  from  sand,  and  committed  to  the 
tender  mercies  of  the  cook.  This  is  one 
of  the  few  species  which  a  bad  cook  can 
hardly  spoil,  for  it  is  good  any  way,  and 
cannot  be  rendered  tough  by  bad  treatment. 
Stewed  or  grilled,  and  served  on  toast,  it 
has  much  of  the  mushroom  flavour  and 
odour ;  but  mixed  with  a  hash,  or  stewed 
with  kidneys,  it  is  irreproachable.  The 
black  fluid  into  which  the  gills  dissolve 
themselves  may  be  employed  as  ink,  with 
the  addition  of  a  little  gum-water. 


EDIBLE    MUSHROOMS.  57 


SHAGGY  CAPS. 

Coprinus  comatus. 

(Plate  VI.  Fig.  2.) 

This  is  one  of  the  best  of  edibles,  and 
common  enough  everywhere,  especially  on 
waste  ground  and  on  building  plots  in 
the  midst  of  civilization.  Gutter-boys 
delight  to  kick  it  about,  and  consider  them- 
selves the  benefactors  of  their  race.  It 
generally  grows  in  clusters,  with  a  long 
whitish,  shaggy  cap,  contracted  at  the 
bottom  for  a  long  time,  but  at  length 
expanded.  The  gills  at  first  are  whitish, 
then  tinged  with  pink — it  is  then  at  its 
prime  ;  at  length  the  gills  turn  black,  the 
cap  expands,  and  finally  dissolves  away,  in 
a  black  slimy  drip,  like  thick  ink.  In  all 
the  species  of  Coprinus  the  gills  dissolve 
into  an  inky  fluid  when  fully  mature,  and 
the  spores  are  quite  black.  There  is  a 
strong  prejudice  against  this  species  as  a 
"toadstool,"    but   it   is    almost    unequalled 


58      EDIBLE   AND   POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 

when  in  its  prime,  and  before  the  gills 
turn  black.  It  will  sometimes  be  found 
by  roadsides,  and  even  in  pastures,  and  is 
tender  and  delicious  cooked  in  any  way. 
The  cap  and  stem  is  occasionally  eight  or 
nine  inches  high,  not  uncommonly  five  or 
six,  and,  as  there  is  nothing  else  which 
resembles  it,  there  can  be  little  doubt  or 
hesitation  in  eating  it,  for  even  children  can 
soon  distinguish  it.  It  is  apt  to  be  gritty 
unless  wiped  clean  before  cooking ;  when 
it  is  too  ripe  for  this  purpose,  it  may 
still  be  converted  into  excellent  ketchup, 
far  superior  to  much  that  is  sold  under 
that  name.  It  is  deservedly  a  favourite 
with  every  one  who  summons  the  courage 
to  test  its  edible  qualities. 


•EDIBLE   MUSHROOMS.  59 


LITTLE  IVORY  CAPS. 

Hygrophorus  niveus. 

(Plate  VI.  Fig.  3.) 

In  many  respects  the  Little  Ivory  Caps 
resemble  the  Ivory  Caps,  but  are  much 
smaller,  and  more  slender.  This  species  is 
found  also  amongst  short  grass,  on  lawns 
and  pastures,  and  is  perfectly  white  in  all  its 
parts.  In  moist  weather  it  is  rather  sticky, 
which  is  scarcely  observable  when  dry.  The 
cap  seldom  exceeds  half  an  inch  in  diameter, 
and  the  distant  gills  are  gradually  attenu- 
ated downwards  into  the  slender  stem. 
From  its  small  size  it  can  hardly  claim 
much  consideration  as  an  edible  species, 
but  both  the  species  of  Ivory  Caps  may 
be  mixed  together  in  making  up  a  dish, 
and  as  a  lawn  may  sometimes  furnish  some 
hundreds  of  specimens  of  the  two  kinds, 
it  may  sometimes  be  possible  to  obtain 
sufficient  for  the  kitchen. 

We   may   enumerate   here   another,   and 


60      EDIBLE    AND    POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 

similar,  little  white  species  {Hygrophorus 
russo-coriaceus) ,  which  is  remarkable  for 
possessing  the  peculiar  odour  of  Eussia 
leather.  It  is  found  in  like  localities,  but 
is  not  common,  and  may  possibly  be  edible, 
but  we  are  not  aware  that  it  has  ever 
been  tested. 

Personally  we  do  not  place  any  of  these 
species  of  white  Hygrophorus  in  a  high 
rank  as  esculents,  and  they  certainly  will 
not  commend  themselves  to  persons  who 
prefer  full-flavoured  mushrooms.  Unless 
cooked  with  care  and  delicacy,  they  will 
possess  very  little  flavour  or  aroma,  but 
they  have  the  merit  of  being  absolutely 
harmless,  and  can  hardly  be  confounded 
with  any  other  known  species. 


PL.  6. 


EDIBLE    MUSHROOMS. 


EDIBLE    MUSHROOMS.  61 


GIANT  PUFF  BALL. 

Lycoperdon  bovista. 

(Plate  VII.  Fig.  1.) 

Since  we  commenced  the  advocacy,  in 
this  country,  of  the  Giant  Puff  Ball  as  an 
article  of  food,  now  thirty  years  ago,  we 
have  made  many  converts,  but  have  never 
found  a  single  instance  in  which  it  was  not 
highly  approved  when  once  tasted.  Some 
few  enthusiasts  have  declared  it  superior  to 
any  other  form  of  fungus  food.  Occasionally 
it  may  be  found  not  larger  than  a  double 
fist,  but  usually  as  big  as  a  man's  head, 
and,  rarely,  three  feet  in  diameter.  It  occurs 
in  rich  pastures  and  on  the  borders  of  corn- 
fields in  harvest- time,  when  it  is  of  a  creamy 
whiteness,  with  a  skin  as  smooth  as  a  kid 
glove.  When  cut  the  interior  should  be 
of  a  beautiful  snowy  white,  without  any 
tendency  to  turn  yellow.  As  soon  as  the 
flesh  shows  any  sign  of  changing  colour, 
it  is  liable  to  produce  derangement  of  the 


62      EDIBLE   AND   POISONOUS    MtJSHROOMS. 

stomach,  and  should  be  rejected.  At  length, 
when  quite  matured,  the  interior  becomes 
a  powdery  mass  of  threads  and  spores  of 
a  yellowish-olive  colour,  when  it  is  good 
for  nothing  but  staunching  blood  or  stifling 
bees.  When  a  specimen  is  found  in  a 
satisfactory  state,  it  should  be  cut  in  slices, 
a  quarter  of  an  inch  thick,  like  pancakes, 
smeared  with  beaten  eg-cr  and  dusted  with 
bread  crumbs,  then  fried  in  butter  or  good 
fat,  until  still  more  resembling  a  pancake 
or  omelet  in  colour.  It  may  be  eaten  by 
itself,  or  with  fried  ham  ;  and  although  with 
a  distinct  and  unique  flavour  of  its  own, 
wholly  unlike  any  other  edible  mushroom, 
it  is  universally  pronounced  delicious.  We 
have  known  specimens  to  grow  amongst 
cabbages  in  a  kitchen  garden,  and  when 
such  is  the  case  it  may  be  left  standing, 
slices  being  cut  off  as  required  until  the 
whole  is  consumed. 


EDIBLE    MUSHROOMS.  63 


SWEETBREAD  MUSHROOM. 

Agaricus  (Clitopilus)  orcella. 

(Plate  VII.  Fig.  2.) 

There  are  a  pair  of  mushrooms  which 
resemble  each  other  so  closely  that  many 
persons  believe  them  to  be  only  varieties. 
Both  of  them  are  unique  in  possessing 
pinkish  spores  ;  both  have  a  mealy  odour, 
with  a  satiny  white  cap,  tending  to  a  very 
pale  grey.  The  Sweetbread  (Ag.  orcella) 
is  said  to  be  the  more  delicate  of  the  two, 
with  a  thin,  irregular,  depressed  pileus,  two 
or  three  inches  in  diameter.  In  moist 
weather  the  surface  is  a  little  sticky,  but  it 
is  always  soft.  It  grows  in  woods,  or  on 
their  borders,  between  June  and  September, 
and  may  always  be  recognized  amongst 
white  species  by  its  strong  mealy  odour. 
The  stem  is  short,  expanding  into  the  gills, 
which  run  a  long  way  down,  and  are  at 
first  white,  but  at  length  assume  a  peculiar 
pale  greyish-pink  colour,  becoming   rather 


64      EDIBLE   AND    POISONOUS   MUSHROOMS. 

brownish  when  quite  old.  The  other,  or 
Plum  Mushroom  (Ag.  prunulus),  is  rather 
more  regularly  shaped  and  fleshy,  and 
grows  also  in  woods,  preferring  shady 
places,  whilst  the  other  grows  in  the  open. 
In  other  respects  it  is  difficult  to  point 
out  distinctions  between  the  two.  Both 
are  most  excellent,  and  favourite  articles  of 
food  with  fungus-eaters,  being  compared  to 
"  sweetbread."  They  are  usually  placed 
with  butter  in  a  covered  dish,  sprinkled 
with  pepper  and  salt,  and  set  in  a  slow 
oven,  being  kept  covered  to  preserve  the 
aroma.  Anything  in  the  nature  of  stewing 
spoils  them.  Some  mycophagists  consider 
them  superior  to  every  other  species. 


EDIBLE    MUSHROOMS.  65 


HORN     OF    PLENTY. 

C rater ellus  cormicopioides. 

(Plate  VII.  Fig.  3.) 

No  edible  fungus  is  so  unattractive  as 
this,  which  we  neglected  for  years,  but  at 
length  discovered  that  we  had  been  deceived 
by  appearances,  and  had  passed  over  an  excel- 
lent addition  to  the  table.  It  is  not  one  of 
the  gill-bearing  fungi  at  all,  and  belongs  to 
a  large  group  which  contains  hardly  another 
edible  species,  but  many  as  tough  as  leather. 
The  above  is  found  on  the  ground  in  woods, 
sometimes  in  profusion  in  late  autumn,  and 
has  the  peculiar  form  of  a  sort  of  trumpet, 
expanding  gradually  from  the  base  to  the 
apex,  with  the  margin  bent  back  at  the 
mouth.  It  is  three  or  four  inches  high, 
with  the  mouth,  and  interior,  brownish  or 
olive,  or  sooty,  and  rather  scaly  ;  the  exterior 
smooth,  or  nearly  so,  with  a  few  depressions, 
greyish,  bearing  the  spores  on  all  parts  of 
the  surface,  without  gills,  pores,  or  spines. 

E 


66      EDIBLE    AND   POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 

The  substance  is  everywhere  thin  and 
flexible,  and  there  is  hardly  any  perceptible 
odour.  "When  intended  for  cooking,  the 
horns  should  be  split  open  through  their 
entire  length,  aud  washed  free  of  all  grit, 
which  is  sure  to  accumulate  at  the  bottom. 
When  dried  the  pieces  should  be  placed  in  a 
stew-pan,  with  salt  and  pepper,  a  little  water, 
or  gravy,  and  stewed  gently  until  soft,  then 
thickened  with  flour,  wTith  the  addition  of 
a  little  chopped  parsley  if  desirable.  The 
,  aroma  and  flavour  is  decidedly  suggestive 
of  the  Common  Mushroom,  and,  as  bushels 
decay  every  year,  it  is  a  pity  that  the  Horn 
of  Plenty  should  not  become  more  widely 
and  better  known. 


EDIBLE    MUSHROOMS.  67 


CHANTARELLE. 

Cantharellus  cibarius. 

(Plate  VII.  Fig.  4.) 

The  Chantarelle  is  abundant  in  woods 
in  some  districts,  such  as  parts  of  the  New 
Forest,  whilst  in  other  localities  it  is  rather 
uncertain,  and  said  to  be  uncommon.  It 
has  the  advantage  of  being  readily  seen, 
and  not  easily  confounded  with  anything 
else.  We  have  sometimes  collected  two 
gallons  in  about  an  hour.  The  entire  colour 
is  a  beautiful  egg-yellow,  the  texture  is  firm 
and  clean  to  the  touch,  the  odour  rather 
fragrant,  reminding  one  of  apricots,  and 
the  taste  is  a  little  warm  and  biting  when 
raw.  The  gills  run  down  the  stem  a  long 
way,  and  are  so  shallow  and  thick  that 
they  are  more  like  veins  than  gills,  many 
of  them  being  forked  upwards,  connected 
by  thin  cross-veining.  Altogether  it  is  a 
most  remarkable  fungus,  once  seen  never 
to  be  forgotten.     Internally  it  is  solid  and 


/ 


68      EDIBLE   AND    POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 

paler  yellow,  and  it  does  not  appear  to  be 
at  all  in  favour  with  insects.  Another 
feature  in  its  behalf  is  that  the  substance 
is  so  dry,  and  so  little  disposed  to  change 
or  decay,  that  they  may  be  kept  several 
days  and  cooked  as  required,  or  even  strung 
up  and  dried  for  winter  use.  There  are 
many  methods  of  cooking  for  the  table, 
and  many  chances  of  spoiling  them,  as  they 
are  liable  to  become  tough  if  not  carefully 
attended  to.  We  are  in  favour  of  cutting 
them  up  and  soaking  all  night  in  milk, 
especially  if  not  quite  fresh.  By  proper 
manipulation  they  are  a  delicious  esculent, 
and  when  condemned  it  is  usually  the  cook 
who  should  bear  the  blame. 


PL.  7. 


■Street  bread 


'«  C/ 


EDIBLE    MUSHROOMS. 


EDIBLE    MUSHROOMS.  69 


EDIBLE   BOLETUS. 

Boletus  edulis. 

(Plate  VIII.  Fig.  1.) 

This  is  one  of  the  pore-bearing  fungi,  in 
which  there  are  no  gill-plates  on  the  under 
surface  of  the  cap,  but  the  pale  yellowish- 
green  surface  is  punctured  with  very  numer- 
ous pores,  as  if  pricked  with  a  pin.  After 
the  summer  rains  it  is  plentiful  in  woods, 
with  a  convex  cap  of  three  or  four,  and  even 
to  six  or  seven,  inches  in  diameter,  of  a 
warm  brownish  colour,  like  a  Bath  bun, 
quite  smooth,  and  slightly  viscid.  The  stem 
is  very  thick,  often  distorted,  pale  tawmy, 
four  to  six  inches  lon^,  often  two  inches 
thick,  narrowed  upwards,  and  usually  with 
a  beautiful  network  of  lines  near  the  top, 
but  without  any  collar  or  ring,  and  solid 
throughout.  The  pores  or  tubes  on  the 
under  side  of  the  pileus  are  easily  removed, 
as  they  adhere  but  slightly  to  the  thick 
flesh  of  the  cap.     It  is  preferable  to  cook 


70      EDIBLE   AND    POISONOUS   MUSHROOMS. 

the  flesh  without  the  tubes,  as  the  latter 
are  rather  slimy.  Young  specimens  are 
best,  when  the  flesh  is  firmest,  as  they  are 
disposed  to  become  spongy  with  age.  On 
the  Continent  the  sliced  caps  are  dried  and 
sold  as  "ceps,"  for  winter  use.  It  may  be 
observed  that  when  cut  down  through  the 
stem  the  flesh  undergoes  little  or  no  change 
in  colour,  never  turning  blue,  as  in  danger- 
ous species.  One  plan  of  cooking  is  re- 
commended which  we  have  never  tried — 
that  is,  to  fry  or  roast  the  sliced  caps  with 
onions.  Two  or  three  other  species  of  these 
Boleti  are  excellent,  especially  one  with  a 
rough  dotted  stem  and  dirty  white  under 
surface  of  the  cap,  but  the  one  above 
described  is  most  strongly  recommended. 


EDIBLE    MUSHROOMS.  71 


BUFF  CAPS. 

Ilygrojihorus  praiensis. 

(Plate  VIII.  Fig.  2.) 

The  Buff  Caps  is  a  rather  early  species, 
amongst  grass,  and  has  been  highly  com- 
mended. Although  it  is  one  of  the  Hygro- 
pliori — literally,  "  water-bearers  " — it  is  of 
a  much  drier  consistency  than  many  others 
of  that  group.  The  cap  is  seldom  more 
than  two  inches  broad,  becoming  nearly 
fiat,  smooth  and  soft,  like  a  kid  glove. 
From  the  edge  of  the  cap  it  tapers  gradu- 
ally downwards  to  the  stem,  the  gills  being 
broad  and  thick,  and  running  a  long  way 
down  the  stem,  which  is  attenuated  to  the 
base.  The  gills  are  distant  apart,  showing 
the  rugged  veins  at  their  base.  When  the 
whole  fungus  is  cut  through  longitudinally, 
it  will  be  seen  that  the  flesh  is  very  thick 
and  solid,  of  the  same  tone  of  colour,  but 
paler  than  the  exterior.  The  whole  fungus 
is  of  one   colour,  although    the  spores  are 


72      EDIBLE   AND    POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 

white,  and  this  colour  is  one  which  is 
difficult  to  depict  or  describe.  It  is  almost 
of  the  tint  called  "gilvous,"  not  tan- 
coloured,  because  with  more  pink  ;  hardly 
fawn-coloured,  because  warmer ;  and  not 
buff,  because  less  yellow.  It  is  a  sort  of 
combination  of  all,  with  a  tendency  to  dark 
flesh  colour.  It  is  not  a  woodland  species, 
but  occurs  on  lawns  and  in  pastures, 
amongst  short  ^rass,  in  the  early  summer. 
It  requires  careful  cooking,  as  it  is  liable 
to  be  condemned  as  tough,  unless  treated 
slowly,  but  it  is  a  great  favourite  abroad. 
We  have  no  fungus  similar  in  appearance 
or  colour  which  can  possibly  be  confounded 
with  it. 


PL.  8. 


EDIBLE    MUSHROOMS. 


EDIBLE    MUSHROOMS.  73 


WHITE  HELVELLA. 

Helvetta  crispa. 

(Plate  IX.  Fig.  1.) 

The  Morels  and  Helvellas  differ  in 
structure  more  than  in  appearance  from 
the  residue  of  Edible  Fungi.  In  Agarics, 
and  other  similar  organisms,  the  spores  are 
naked  and  exposed  on  the  under  surface  of 
the  cap,  but  in  the  present,  and  its  allies, 
the  spores  are  enclosed  in  membranous  sacs, 
which  are  imbedded  in  the  substance  of  the 
pileus.  The  White  Helvella  is  an  autumnal 
species,  and  grows  on  shady  banks,  and 
amougst  short  grass.  The  stem  is  two  or 
three  inches  long,  deeply  furrowed  and 
wrinkled ;  and  the  cap  is  thin,  lobed,  and 
bent  back,  contorted  and  twisted  in  a  singu- 
lar manner.  The  whole  plant  is  whitish, 
rather  fragile,  with  little  odour,  and  sweet 
and  nutty  in  flavour.  On  account  of  its 
dry  substance  the  whole  plant  dries  readily, 
and  may  be  preserved  for  winter  use,  for 


74      EDIBLE    AND    POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 

the  flavouring  of  stews,  soups,  etc.  It  may 
be  stewed  fresh,  but  in  this  capacity  it  is 
not  so  much  esteemed  as  for  its  flavouring 
qualities  when  dried,  in  which  condition 
it  is  a  good  substitute  for  the  Morel.  A 
second  species  is  nearly  as  common  (Hel- 
vetia lacunosa)  and  quite  as  large,  if  not 
larger.  The  cap  is  less  expanded,  and  of  a 
dark  smoky -brown  colour,  whilst  the  stem 
is  equally  furrowed  and  channelled,  and  of 
rather  a  dirtier  white.  It  is  equally  good, 
and  dries  with  the  same  facility,  so  that  the 
two  species  may  be  mixed  together.  We 
have  found  them  in  considerable  quantities 
in  Epping  Forest,  but  sometimes  only  two 
or  three  specimens  are  to  be  seen.  When- 
ever this 'happens  they  should  be  collected 
and  hung  up  to  dry  to  await  future  additions 
from  more  successful  excursions.  They  may 
be  found  from  August  to  October. 


EDIBLE   MUSHROOMS.  75 


COMMON  MOREL. 

March ella  esculenta. 

(Plate  IX.  Fig.  2.) 

All  the  Morels  which  are  found  in  this 
country  are  edible,  and  make  their  appear- 
ance in  the  spring.  The  peculiar  cap,  or 
pileus,  is  more  or  less  globose,  or  conical, 
and  the  surface  is  deeply  pitted  with  large 
elongated  or  hexagonal  pits,  in  the  flesh  of 
which  the  spores  are  imbedded,  as  in  the 
Helvellas.  The  present  species  has  the 
margin  of  the  cap  grown  to  the  stem,  so  as 
to  be  continuous  with  it.  The  pileus  and 
stem  are  hollow,  the  latter  externally  white 
and  the  former  light  brown,  or  greyish,  with 
a  tinge  of  olive.  They  do  not  appear  to  be 
so  common  with  us  as  in  France,  since  lar^e 
baskets  filled  with  them  are  commonly 
exposed  for  sale  in  the  markets  of  Paris  at 
a  moderate  price.  In  this  country  they  are 
undoubtedly  local  and  comparatively  rare, 
occurring   in    woods    or   on    hedge    banks. 


76      EDIBLE    AND    POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 

The  odour,  when  fresh,  is  agreeable  to  a 
fungus-eater,  being  decidedly  "  mushroom y," 
and  when  cooked  even  more  enticing.  As 
they  dry  readily  they  may  be  kept  for  use 
at  any  season  of  the  year.  In  this  con- 
dition they  are  even  sold  in  the  bazaars 
of  India,  and  appreciated  by  the  natives. 
The  hollow  cap  of  the  fresh  fungus  may 
be  stuffed  with  minced  veal,  and  dressed 
between  slices  of  bacon,  "a  dish  of  rare 
and  exquisite  flavour."  It  seems  an  act  of 
vandalism  to  convert  them  into  ketchup, 
and  yet  they  are  fully  capable  of  such  an 
operation,  and  yield  an  excellent  sauce. 
Fresh  Morels  are  very  rarely  exposed  for 
sale  in  London,  and  then  realize  high 
prices. 


EDIBLE    MUSHROOMS.  77 


LANKY    MOREL. 

Morchella  semilibera. 

(Plate  IX.  Fig.  3.) 

In  some  localities  this  long-stemmed 
Morel  is  more  plentiful  than  the  foregoing 
species,  from  which  it  differs,  not  only  by 
the  length  of  the  stem,  but  by  a  more 
permanent  and  reliable  character,  which  is 
that  the  lower  edge  of  the  pileus  is  free 
from  the  stem  all  round,  and  is  attached 
beneath  about  half-way  up,  whence  the 
name  of  semilibera  or  "  half  free."  The 
cap  is  smaller  than  in  the  Common  Morel, 
and  more  conical,  and  the  pits  narrower 
and  more  elongated.  This  is  also  a  spring 
species,  and  is  found  in  similar  localities ; 
the  two  will  sometimes  be  found  growing 
together.  As  an  esculent,  the  one  appears 
to  be  equally  good  with  the  other,  but  both 
are  local,  if  not  rare.  It  is  deeply  to  be 
regretted  that  no  plan  has  ever  been  dis- 
covered for  the  artificial  culture  of- Morels. 


78       EDIBLE    AND    POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 

There  are  several  other  species  which  are 
even  more  rarely  found  in  this  country, 
and  especially  one,  of  almost  gigantic  size, 
called  Morchella  Smithiana,  because  it  was 
first  found  by  Mr.  Worthington  Smith. 
The  cap  is  almost  spherical,  and  of  a  tawny 
colour,  with  large  deep  pits.  The  entire 
height,  including  the  thick  stem,  is  nearly  a 
foot,  and  the  globose  cap  about  seven  inches 
in  diameter.  The  stem  and  cap  are  hollow, 
and,  when  stuffed  with  minced  veal,  would 
furnish  a  substantial  meal  for  a  family. 
The  fragments  of  one  nearly  as  large  were 
gathered  from  a  roadside  twelve  months 
ago ;  it  had  been  found  and  kicked  about 
by  some  mischievous  boys,  who  regarded  it 
as  a  toadstool. 


EDIBLE    MUSHROOMS.  79 


TRUFFLE. 

Tuber  cvstivum. 

(Plate  IX.  Fig.  4.) 

This  enumeration  would  not  be  complete 
without  mention  of  the  Truffle,  which  is 
found  buried  in  the  ground  like  a  potato, 
but  without  any  indication  on  the  surface, 
so  that  it  is  not  easily  to  be  found.  It 
favours  chalky  or  limestone  soils,  such  as 
the  Sussex  Downs,  and  formerly  was  hunted 
by  truffle-dogs,  trained  for  the  purpose.  In 
these  days  most  supplies  come  from  France, 
as  they  are  imported  at  a  cheaper  rate  than 
our  native  species  could  be  collected,  so  that 
the  industry  with  us  is  nearly  extinct.  The 
French  truffle  is  not  precisely  the  same 
species  as  our  own,  whilst  some  consider  it 
preferable.  It  is  nearly  black,  with  a  rough, 
or  obtusely  warted  surface,  and  mostly 
irregular  in  shape,  from  the  size  of  a  walnut 
to  that  of  an  apple,  with  a  strong  pene- 
trating odour.     It  is  employed  chiefly   for 


80      EDIBLE   AND    POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 

flavouring,  as  an  addition  to  stuffing,  to 
meat  pies,  and  for  other  purposes.  Some 
are  imported  fresh,  others  preserved  in  oil, 
and  some  in  slices  dried.  Those  who  have 
had  experience  of  the  truffle  as  an  inde- 
pendent delicacy  state  that  when  roasted  in 
wood  ashes  it  is  something  to  be  remem- 
bered, but  this  is  an  experience  which  is 
reserved  to  the  few.  It  must  always  be 
regarded  as  the  most  aristocratic  of  the 
mushroom  tribe. 


PL.   9. 


M> 


xkif  \ 


EDIBLE    MUSHROOMS. 


POISONOUS  MUSHROOMS. 

The  number  of  species  of  poisonous  fungi 
found  in  this  country  is  comparatively 
small,  and  with  knowledge  and  experience 
the  list  is  gradually  being  reduced.  Some 
of  the  species  introduced  here  have  been 
reputed  noxious,  but  the  evidence  in  support 
is  exceedingly  weak,  whilst  a  few  are,  at 
their  worst,  only  suspicious.  Whilst  it  is 
advisable  that  no  really  injurious  species 
should  fail  to  be  recorded,  it  is  quite  needless 
and  useless  to  increase  the  number  of  bogies 
by  retaining  individuals  hitherto  suspected, 
but  which  have  been  proved  innocent. 
There  was  a  time,  within  the  memory  of 
men  still  living,  when  the  majority  of 
indigenous  fungi  were  regarded  as  "  toad- 
stools," and  affirmed  to  be  poisonous.     This 


82       EDIBLE    AND    POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 

has  been  shown  to  be  a  fallacy,  and  now 
that  they  are  admitted  to  be  only  a  minority, 
further  knowledge  and  wider  experience  is 
more  likely  to  tend  in  the  direction  of  still 
further  diminution  than  in  increase.  It 
cannot  be  too  often  urged  that  in  nearly  all 
the  cases  of  mishaps  from  eating  poisonous 
fungi,  such  mishaps  have  resulted  from  most 
culpable  negligence  or  gross  ignorance, 
especially  in  the  case  of  adults,  and  in 
children  from  the  propensity  to  eat  anything 
which  it  is  possible  to  masticate. 


POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS.  83 


FLY  MUSHROOM. 

Agaricus  (Amanita)  muscarius. 

(Plate  X.  Fig.  1.) 

The  figure  alone  should  be  sufficient  for 
any  one  to  recognize  this  species  at  once. 
In  Northern  Asia  it  is  used  as  an  intoxicant, 
and  in  European  countries  to  poison  flies. 
The  pileus  is  four  inches,  sometimes  six,  in 
diameter,  of  a  brilliant  scarlet,  with  scat- 
tered whitish  warts,  the  margin  orange  or 
yellow ;  the  stem  sometimes  eight  or  nine 
inches  long,  with  a  large  pendulous  collar 
or  ring.  The  white  gills  are  perfectly  free 
from  the  stem,  leaving  a  channel  between 
them.  Only  the  edge  of  the  volva  remains 
at  the  swollen  base  of  the  stem.  It  is 
found  in  autumn  in  woods,  having  a 
predilection  in  favour  of  birch.  The  effects 
which  follow  on  partaking  of  this  fungus 
have  been  recorded  somewhat  in  detail,  and 
resemble  intoxication,  but  with  dangerous 
symptoms   which   result    in    death.     Some 


84      EDIBLE   AND    POISONOUS   MUSHROOMS. 

interest  was  excited,  a  few  years  since,  by 
the  announcement  of  the  discovery  that  the 
hypodermic  injection  of  atropine  was  a 
successful  antidote  to  poisoning  by  mus- 
carine or  amanitine.  Although  we  have 
been  informed  of  successful  applications 
of  this  antidote,  it  has  latterly  been 
declared,  on  medical  authority,  to  be  uncer- 
tain in  its  effects.  It  is  better  therefore  to 
study  the  prevention  rather  than  the  cure, 
and  to  warn  all  eaters  of  toadstools  against 
experiments  with  the  brilliant  Fly  Mush- 
room. It  is  safest  to  be  always  upon 
guard,  and  not  to  eat  any  of  the  brightly- 
coloured  species,  especially  the  red,  of 
which  there  are  a  considerable  number  to 
be  found  in  the  autumn. 


POISONOUS   MUSHROOMS.  85 


CONIC   LAWN   MUSHROOM. 

Hygrophorus  conicus. 

(Plate  X.  Fig.  2.) 

Amongst  the  numerous  species  of  brightly- 
coloured  little  fungi  which  flourish  on  lawns 
in  the  late  autumn  is  this  one,  which  has 
a  conical  cap,  like  an  extinguisher,  about 
an  inch  high,  and  of  a  deep  yellow  or  dull 
orange  colour  at  first,  but  soon  turning 
nearly  black  wherever  bruised  or  broken. 
The  gills  and  hollow  stem  are  paler  and 
yellowish,  changing  colour  like  the  cap.  It 
is  wholly  sticky  when  moist,  but  shining 
when  dry,  with  a  strong  and  rather  un- 
pleasant odour.  Not  only  does  it  flourish 
on  lawns,  but  also  in  pastures,  amongst 
short  grass,  and  by  roadsides.  Whether 
it  is  really  poisonous  is  open  to  doubt,  as 
we  are  aware  of  no  evidence  to  that  effect, 
and  yet  it  is  always  included  as  suspicious 
amongst  noxious  species,  partly  perhaps  on 
account    of  its    turning   black,  and    partly 


86      EDIBLE   AND    POISONOUS   MUSHROOMS. 

from  its  disagreeable  odour.  Several  other 
fungi  have  been  pronounced  noxious  on 
account  of  their  odour,  and  for  no  other 
reason.  The  Common  Stinkhorn  [Phallus 
impudicus)  is  one  of  these,  but,  although 
the  odour  is  simply  disgusting,  until  the 
flies  have  cleared  away  the  dark  slime,  we 
are  not  convinced  that  there  is  anything 
disagreeable  to  the  taste,  or  injurious  to  the 
stomach,  in  other  parts  of  the  fungus ; 
indeed,  we  have  met  with  a  report  of  its 
having  been  eaten  without  inconvenience, 
after  being  carefully  washed.  Nevertheless 
it  must  be  a  courageous  person  who  would 
attempt  to  stew  a  Stinkhorn  in  all  its  glory, 
even  if  not  reputed  to  be  poisonous. 


PL.  10. 


POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 


POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS.  87 


BUFF    WARTY   CAPS. 

Ayaricus  {Amanita)  phalloides. 

(Plate  XI.  Fig.  1.) 

Possibly  this  is  the  most  dangerous  of 
all  native  fungi,  and  exceedingly  common 
in  nearly  every  wood  in  the  autumn. 
Smith  only  says  that  it  is  supposed  to  be 
dangerous,  but  Dr.  Plowright  traced  more 
than  one  case  of  fungus  poisoning  to  this 
source.  The  pileus  is  from  three  to  four 
inches  broad,  with  rather  a  viscid  skin,  when 
growing  in  open  places  whitish  or  pale  yellow, 
in  more  shady  places  greenish  or  light  olive. 
Sometimes  the  top  is  quite  naked,  at  other 
times  with  irregular  patches  of  the  volva 
adhering.  The  gills  are  free  from  the  stem, 
white,  broadest  in  the  middle,  narrowed 
to  each  end ;  the  stem  three  to  five  inches 
high,  solid  at  first,  then  hollow,  bulbous 
at  the  base,  with  a  large  drooping  white 
collar  or  ring  near  the  top,  and  a  volva 
or   sheath  at  the    base,  the    lower   portion 


88       EDIBLE    AND    POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 

grown  to  the  bulb,  the  upper  margin  torn 
and  loose.  When  very  young  the  cap  is 
covered  by  the  volva,  which  soon  cracks, 
and  the  young  cap  rises  on  its  stem,  bear- 
ing fragments  of  the  torn  volva  attached 
to  it,  whilst  the  remainder  is  left  like  a 
rag-o-ed  membrane  attached  to  the  bulbous 
base.  Whilst  fresh  it  has  very  little  odour, 
but  soon  after  being  gathered  it  smells 
more  strongly,  becoming  more  or  less  stink- 
ing in  decay.  The  variety  which  is  pure 
white,  sometimes  called  a  distinct  species 
under  the  name  of  Agaricus  vernus,  only 
seems  to  differ  in  colour  and  in  its  less  foetid 
odour,  and  is  equally  dangerous.  Against 
these  we  utter  the  strongest  and  most 
emphatic  warning.  The  spores  are  white, 
and  it  has  not  the  least  resemblance  to 
the  Common  Mushroom. 


POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS.  89 


LIBERTY   CAPS. 

Agaricus  (Psilocybe)  semilanceatus. 

(Plate  XI.  Fig.  2.) 

One  of  the  commonest  of  fungi,  amongst 
grass  in  pastures  and  by  roadsides,  during 
summer  and  autumn.  The  cap  is  of  that 
peculiar  conical  form  which  is  convention- 
ally associated  with  the  "  cap  of  liberty," 
about  half  an  inch  broad,  and  a  little  longer, 
sharp  pointed  at  the  top,  and  wholly  dirty 
white  or  ochre.  The  stem  is  long  and 
flexuous,  according  to  the  length  of  the 
grass,  mostly  four  to  five  inches,  and 
scarcely  so  thick  as  a  straw,  and  whitish ; 
gills  pale  brown  at  first,  and  finally  nearly 
black ;  spores  purple-brown.  There  is  a 
form  which  has  the  base  of  the  stem  of  a 
distinct  indigo-blue.  It  may  not  be  a  true 
variety,  but  it  is  the  most  dangerous  form. 
This  little  species  is  included  here  because 
it  was  instrumental  in  poisoning  two  sets 
of   children   in   the  same   year,   and    about 


90      EDIBLE   AND    POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 

two  hundred  miles  apart.  In  both  instances 
some  of  the  fungi  were  found,  of  which  the 
children  had  eaten  in  the  fresh  state,  and 
they  proved  to  be  this  species,  of  the  form 
with  the  distinct  blue  base  to  the  stem. 
Most  probably  all  kinds  are  more  poisonous 
when  fresh,  as  the  virus  is  of  a  volatile 
nature,  and  either  partly  diffused  by  heat 
or  neutralized  by  salt.  As  this  species  is 
so  very  common,  it  should  be  widely  known 
to  parents  and  guardians,  that  children  at 
play  in  the  fields  may  be  warned  against 
putting  in  their  mouths  any  of  the  little 
"  toadstools '  which  qtow  amongst  the 
grass.  We  cannot  conceive  that  any  sane 
person  could  ever  collect  and  eat  this 
singular  little  species  under  the  impression 
that  it  was  an  available  substitute  for  the 
Common  Mushroom.  It  is  so  utterly  unlike 
in  appearance  as  well  as  in  size. 


POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS.  91 


DUNG   SLIMY   CAPS. 

Agaricus  (Strojiharia)  semiglobatus. 

(Plate  XL  Fig.  3.) 

This  familiar  little  fungus  is  common  in 
every  pasture  upon  dung,  and  would  not 
be  mentioned  here  save  that  it  is  reported 
that  children  have  gathered  of  it  and 
poisoned  themselves.  It  has  a  long,  straight, 
slender  stem  like  a  straw,  four  or  five 
inches  long,  with  a  line,  like  a  collar,  above 
the  middle.  The  pileus  is  hemispherical, 
about  an  inch  broad,  and  pale  yellow, 
covered,  as  well  as  the  stem,  with  a  glu- 
tinous slime.  The  gills  are  very  broad, 
and  grey,  spotted  with  the  dark  purple- 
brown  spores.  It  was  Sowerby  who  drew 
attention  to  this  species  as  dangerous, 
and  intimated  that  it  had  been  fatal. 
Since  that  period  we  are  not  aware  of 
any  further  evidence  against  it. 

Other  species  have  at  various  times  been 
reputed  to  be  poisonous  or  suspicious,  but 


92      EDIBLE    AND    POISONOUS   MUSHROOMS. 

mostly  on  the  faith  of  a  disagreeable  odour 
or  taste,  rather  than  from  any  distinct 
evidence.  There  are  some  which  are  so 
repulsive,  from  their  foetid  odour,  that  we 
consider  that  circumstance  quite  sufficient 
to  prevent  accident.  Most  people  are  not 
content  to  put  into  their  mouths  that  which 
offends  their  noses. 


PL.  11. 


POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 


POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS.  93 


CLUSTERED   PINK-GILLS. 

Agaricus  (Entolomcu)  sinuatus. 

(Plate  XII.  Fig.  1.) 

There  is  very  little  difference  in  topo- 
logical properties  between  this  species  and 
Agaricus  fertilis,  and  botanically  they  are 
closely  allied.  The  present  species  is  the 
most  common  in  autumn  in  woods,  where 
it  is  found  in  large  groups,  consisting 
probably  of  twenty  or  thirty  specimens. 
The  pileus  or  cap  is  from  four  to  six  inches 
in  expanse,  at  first  convex,  then  flattened, 
with  the  edge  split  and  turned  up.  It  is 
of  a  greyish-white  or  pale  grey  colour, 
with  a  tinge  of  yellow,  quite  smooth,  and 
often  cracked  when  old.  When  three  or 
four  grow  close  together  they  are  much 
contorted  by  mutual  pressure.  The  gills 
are  very  broad,  yellowish-pink,  becoming 
pale  reddish,  with  pinkish  spores.  The 
stem  is  solid,  whitish,  five  to  seven  inches 
long,  and   nearly  an  inch   thick,  fibrillose, 


94      EDIBLE   AND    POISONOUS   MUSHROOMS. 

sometimes  splitting,  but  without  any  collar 
or  ring.  It  has  a  faint  heavy  odour,  and 
like  many  other  of  the  pink-spored  species, 
decays  rapidly. 

The  other  species,  Agaricus  fertilis,  which 
nearly  poisoned  Mr.  Worthington  Smith 
and  some  of  his  family,  is  of  about  the 
same  size,  and  grows  also  in  woods,  but 
the  stem  is  somewhat  scaly,  and  swollen 
at  the  base.  The  pileus  becomes  flat,  with 
the  edges  turned  down,  and  not  upwards  ; 
it  is  moreover  powdery  or  downy,  and  pallid 
reddish.  The  gills  are  not  so  broad,  and  of 
a  dull  flesh  colour.  It  is  seldom  otherwise 
than  solitary,  with  a  rather  mealy  smell. 
We  have  always  been  suspicious  of  the  pink- 
spored  species,  but  these  two  are  evidently 
deserving  of  something  more  than  suspicion, 
for  they  are  veritably  dangerous. 


POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS.  95 


STYPTIC    SIDEFOOT. 

Partus  stypticus. 

(Plate  XII.  Fig.  2.)  . 

Old  stumps  and  logs  in  woods  often  have 
a  small  fungus  growing  upon  them  with  a 
short  stem  on  one  side,  so  as  to  be  attached 
sideways,  spreading  out  like  a  fan.  They 
are  not  more  than  an  inch  across,  and  often 
less,  but  half-a-dozen  will  grow  together 
in  a  cluster,  overlapping  each  other.  The 
surface  is  quite  smooth,  of  a  pale  ochre  or 
flesh  colour,  the  thick-set  gills  on  the  under 
surface  radiating  from  the  thick  stem.  The 
substance  is  dry,  with  no  particular  odour, 
and  would  scarcely  be  noticed  unless  hunted 
for.  This  little  species,  however,  enjoys  a 
bad  reputation,  for  although  Smith  only 
utters  the  caution  that  it  had  better  be 
avoided,  Dr.  Lambotte  asserts  that  it  is 
distinctly  dangerous,  being  a  violent  purga- 
tive. Were  it  not  for  this  warning  the 
plant  is  almost  too  insignificant  to  demand 


96       EDIBLE    AND    POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 

attention,  as  no  sane  person  would  collect 
such  a  minute  object,  no  larger  than  a 
brace-button,  for  breakfast.  A  few  large 
species  that  are  found  growing  on  dead 
trunks  may  be  eaten,  but  it  is  always 
advisable  to  be  upon  guard  against  species 
which  flourish  on  rotten  wood,  since  so 
many  of  them  are  bitter  and  unpleasant, 
even  if  not  distinctly  injurious. 


PL,  12. 


POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 


POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS.  97 


CLUSTERED   YELLOW   MUSHROOM. 

Agaricus  {Uypholomob)  fascicularis. 

(Plate  XIII.  Fig.  1.) 

The    above-named    fungus    is   about    the 

most    common   everywhere    in    the    British 

Islands.     It  appears  soon  after  midsummer, 

and   lasts   until    destroyed    by    the    frosts. 

Wholly  confined    to  rotten  wood,  it  grows 

on  fallen  trunks,   logs,  but  chiefly  on   old 

stumps  left  in  the  ground,  and  forms  dense 

clumps,  sometimes  two  or  three  feet  across. 

The    cap    is    usually    about    an    inch,    but 

occasionally  two  inches,   in  diameter,  of  a 

sulphury  yellow,  reddish  or  brownish  on  the 

top,  turning  brown  in  decay,  smooth  and 

even.     The  stems  are  hollow  and  elongated, 

flexuous,    and    closely   pressed    together   at 

the    base,    where   they   are    brownish,    but 

yellow    in    the    upper   portion.      The   gills 

have  a  dull  greenish  tinge,  which  lasts  for 

a  long  time,  at  length  becoming  discoloured 

with  the  purple-brown  spores.     The  odour 

a 


98      EDIBLE   AND   POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 

» 

is  rather  strong  and  heavy,  and  the  taste 
very  bitter  and  disagreeable.  It  is  very 
usual  to  regard  this  as  a  poisonous  species, 
but  possibly  it  is  not  so  in  reality ;  it  is, 
however,  so  disagreeably  bitter  and  un- 
pleasant, that  we  doubt  if  any  one  would 
eat  sufficient  of  it,  under  any  circumstances, 
to  do  them  any  grievous  bodily  harm. 

A  very  similar  species  (Agaricus  subla- 
teritius)  but  with  larger  caps,  the  colour 
less  yellow  and  more  of  a  brick-red,  grows 
also  in  large  clumps  on  stumps.  The 
inexperienced  would  hardly  distinguish  the 
difference,  as  the  gills  have  the  same 
olive  tinge,  and  it  is  equally  bitter  and 
disagreeable. 


POISONOUS   MUSHROOMS.  99 


SULPHURY    MUSHROOM. 

Agaricus  (Tricholoma)  sulphur eus. 

(Plate  XIII.  Fig.  2.) 

This  yellow  Agaric  is  by  no  means 
common,  but  it  is  very  striking,  and  not 
readily  overlooked.  It  is  one  of  the  white- 
spored  series,  notwithstanding  the  coloured 
gills.  It  is  a  woodland  species,  and  grows 
upon  the  ground,  either  solitary  or  two  or 
three  in  company.  The  pileus  is  from  one  to 
two  or  three  inches  broad,  fleshy  and  convex, 
at  length  somewhat  depressed,  rather  silky 
at  first,  but  soon  smooth,  of  a  sulphury 
yellow  colour,  sometimes  dingy  or  inclined 
to  rufous.  The  stem  is  from  two  to  three 
inches  long,  and  of  the  same  colour  as  the 
pileus ;  the  gills  are  rather  thick  and  distant, 
bright  yellow.  The  odour  is  strong,  rather 
stinking,  and  unpleasant  to  the  taste.  Some 
have  compared  the  scent  to  that  of  "  gas-tar ' 
or  creosote.  It  is  hardly  a  species  which 
is  liable  to  be  confounded  with   anything 


100      EDIBLE   AND    POISONOUS   MUSHROOMS. 

else  or  with,  any  species  that  is  edible, 
and  it  presents  so  little  attraction  that 
we  doubt  if  any  one  would  be  tempted 
to  try  it.  Nevertheless  it  is  reputed  to 
be  poisonous. 


POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS.  101 


GREEN  SLIMY  CAPS. 

Arjaricus  (Stropharia)  ceruginosus. 

(Plate  XIII.  Fig.  3.) 

ThePvE  is  something  suspiciously  adverse 
to  esculent  qualities  in  the  slimy  green 
Agaric  above-named.  It  is  common  enough 
in  woods  amongst  grass  and  dead  leaves 
to  be  familiar,  but  it  is  not  attractive. 
The  pileus  is  usually  about  two  inches 
broad  and  convex,  covered  with  a  verdigris 
slime,  which  is  gradually  washed  away  and 
leaves  a  pallid  colour,  which  becomes  of  a 
warm  brown  about  the  apex.  A  few  scaly 
white  patches  are  at  first  attached  about 
the  margin,  but  these  fall  away  with  the 
gluten.  The  stem  is  rather  slender  and 
hollow,  whitish,  the  lower  portion  scaly, 
with  a  distinct  collar  or  ring  just  above 
the  middle.  The  gills  are  of  a  dull  brown, 
with  a  tinge  of  violet,  and  the  spores  of 
a  purple-brown.  As  it  is  seen  growing  it 
is    certainly    rather    handsome,    but    when 


102      EDIBLE   AND    POISONOUS   MUSHROOMS. 

gathered  and  handled  it  is  certainly  not 
enticing  as  an  article  of  food,  and  we  can 
hardly  suppose  any  one  imaginative  enough 
to  believe  in  its  virtues.  It  is  impossible 
to  mistake  it  for  any  known  edible  species, 
and  the  only  other  greenish  Agaric  to 
be  found  in  woods  is  the  very  fragrant 
Agaricus  odorus,  which  is  never  slimy,  has 
no  collar  to  the  stem,  and  possesses  a  most 
delightful  odour  of  melilot,  which  adheres 
to  it  to  the  last.  The  Green  Slimy  Caps  has 
the  reputation  of  being  poisonous,  which  is 
somewhat  general  on  the  Continent,  but 
probably  this  is  only  assumed  from  its  dis- 
agreeable taste  and  repulsive  appearance 
rather  than  from  any  active  property. 
Under  any  circumstances  it  should  be 
avoided  as  a  very  suspicious  character. 


PL.  13. 


POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 


POISONOUS   MUSHROOMS.  103 


MAGPIE  MUSHROOM. 

Coprinus  incacews. 

(Plate  XIV.  Fig.  1.) 

In  some  respects  this  resembles  the  Inky 
Mushroom,  but  it  grows  upon  the  ground 
singly,  and  not  in  tufts.  It  is  found  by 
roadsides  and  by-paths  in  woods,  but  is 
nowhere  common.  We  have  met  with  it 
in  September,  but  the  gills  soon  deliquesce 
and  drop  away  in  an  inky  fluid,  and 
nothing  is  left  of  it  but  a  black  patch. 
The  pileus  is  bell-shaped,  at  first  pale, 
then  the  cuticle  splits  and  adheres  in 
irregular  patches.  As  the  gills  become 
black,  so  the  cap  darkens,  the  thin  sub- 
stance permitting  the  blackness  to  show 
through,  until  the  cap  is  pied  with  light 
patches  on  a  black  stratum.  The  stem  is 
straight  and  erect,  about  six  inches  long, 
a  little  bulbous  at  the  base,  and  white, 
except  where  stained  by  the  spores.  As 
the    gills    deliquesce    it    acquires   a    foetid 


104       EDIBLE    AND    POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 

odour,  and  is  in  all  respects  uninviting. 
We  are  not  at  all  satisfied  that  it  is  really 
poisonous,  although  it  is  a  point  scarce 
worth  determining,  for  no  one  would  think 
of  eating  it,  were  it  ever  so  harmless,  and 
it  is  too  rare  to  be  in  any  sense  a  public 
danger.  Flies  are  usually  seen  hovering 
around  this  species,  especially  when  in  a 
state  of  decay,  being  attracted  by  its  some- 
what unpleasant  odour.  When  the  gills 
drop  away  in  an  inky  mass,  the  flies  may  be 
observed  sucking  it  up.  It  has  been  affirmed 
that  by  such  means  the  spores  of  this  and 
other  species  are  disseminated,  so  that  for 
the  perpetuation  of  the  species  they  are 
indebted  to  the  intermediation  of  flies, 
through  whose  bodies  the  spores  themselves 
pass  uninjured. 


POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS.  105 


WOOD  WOOLLY  FOOT 

Marasmius  peronatus. 

(Plate  XIV.  Fig.  2.) 

This  is  supposed  to  be  the  woodland  re- 
presentative of  the  Fairy  King' Champignon, 
and  persons  have  been  often  cautioned 
against  confounding  them,  which  is  a  libel 
on  humanity,  for  they  are  nothing  like 
each  other.  This  species  is  autumnal, 
being  plentiful  in  September  and  October, 
with  a  dry,  dull  umber-coloured  pileus, 
about  two  inches  in  diameter,  gills  which 
are  broad  and  rather  distant,  of  almost  the 
same  colour,  but  with  a  slight  tinge  of 
purple,  and  an  erect  rigid  stem,  the  lower 
half  of  which  is  clothed  with  a  pale 
yellowish,  shaggy  wool.  The  spores  are 
white,  notwithstanding  the  dark  gills. 
This  species  is  reputed  poisonous,  and  yet 
it  is  sometimes  mild  enough  to  the  taste, 
when  fresh.  Like  the  Champignon,  it  is 
very  tough  and  flexible,  so  that  specimens 


106      EDIBLE    AND    POISONOUS   MUSHROOMS. 

may  be  carried  loose  without  breaking. 
Unlike  the  Champignon,  it  always  grows 
in  woods  and  amongst  dead  leaves,  and 
never  forms  rings  or  parts  of  rings. 

Another  species,  Marasmius  urens,  is 
always  named  with  a  caution,  although 
we  believe  the  true  species  to  be  very 
uncommon.  It  is  a  woodland  species,  and 
we  believe  always  so,  growing  in  tufts, 
the  stem  being  downy  to  the  top  and 
woolly  at  the  base,  cap  and  gills  similar 
to  the  preceding.  Nearly  all  the  specimens 
which  we  have  seen  called  by  this  name  are 
merely  forms  of  M.  peronatus,  although 
it  is  really  quite  different,  more  persistently 
acrid,  and  csespitose.  Both  species  should 
be  avoided,  because,  if  innocuous,  they 
would  be  tough  and  indigestible. 


PL.  14. 


SONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 


POISONOUS   MUSHROOMS.  107 


BITTER  STRAW  RUSSULE. 

Russula  fettea. 

(Plate  XV.  Fig.  1.) 

This  common  Russule  appears  uuder 
trees  plentifully  throughout  autumn.  The 
pileus  is  about  three  inches  in  diameter, 
convex  and  flattened,  a  little  darker  in 
the  centre,  but  otherwise  the  entire  fungus, 
gills,  stem,  and  internal  substance  are 
ochrey,  or  of  the  colour  of  straw.  The 
stem  is  rather  short  and  equal,  and  the 
flesh  firm,  but  not  elastic.  There  are 
several  ochraceous  species,  but  the  tone 
of  colour  in  this  differs  from  all,  and  it 
appears  to  be  always  bitter  to  the  taste 
when  fresh.  It  is  regarded  as  suspicious, 
and  if  not  really  poisonous,  it  seems  to 
be  quite  unfit  for  food.  We  do  not 
consider  it  dangerous. 

There  is  a  very  large  Russule  which 
is  common  in  woods   in  August,  which   is 


108       EDIBLE    AND    POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 

darker  than  the  above,  almost  dirty  tan- 
colour,  or  foxy,  and  six  inches  in  diameter, 
the  margin  coarsely  sulcate  with  parallel 
channels,  the  elevated  space  between  being 
coarsely  tubercled.  All  parts  are  sticky, 
and  rather  brittle,  but  above  all  it  has 
usually  a  very  strong  foetid  odour,  and 
is  called  Russula  /ceteris.  It  is  one  of 
the  species  of  which  slugs  seem  to  be 
particularly  fond,  for  it  is  generally  slug- 
eaten.  We  have  said  that  it  is  usually 
foetid,  but  on  two  or  three  occasions  we 
have  found  specimens  of  the  same  species, 
which  cannot  well  be  mistaken  for  any 
other,  in  which  the  odour  was  decidedly 
of  a  different  character,  being;  fragrant  and 
agreeable.  We  do  not  pretend  to  account 
for  the  circumstance,  but  merely  record  it 
as  a  fact.  Apart  from  the  very  unpleasant 
odour  and  appearance  it  presents,  we  doubt 
this  species  being  really  noxious. 


POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS.  109 


ACRID  MILK-MUSHROOM. 

Lactarius  acris. 

(Plate  XV.  Fig.  2.) 

In  so  far  as  our  experience  goes  this 
species  is  uncommon,  having  met  with  it 
very  rarely  during  thirty  years.  It  occurs 
in  woods,  and  is  probably  sometimes  con- 
founded with  Lactarius  fuliginosus.  The 
pileus  is  of '  a  dull,  dark,  sooty  grey,  and 
often  irregular  and  viscid,  seldom  two 
inches  broad,  with  a  stem  that  is  not  un- 
commonly placed  somewhat  on  one  side,  so 
that  the  cap  is  oblique  ;  it  is  pallid  and 
attenuated  downwards.  The  gills  are  rather 
crowded,  and  yellowish  or  tawny.  When 
cut  or  bruised  it  yields  a  white  milk,  which 
is  very  acrid  to  the  taste,  and  slowly  becomes 
discoloured,  chan^ino;  to  a  dull  reddish  or 
neutral  orange  colour.  This  change  is  not 
so  rapid  as  in  many  species,  but  ultimately 
takes  place,  and  is  a  very  good  clue  to  the 
species.     It  is  altogether  a   darker  fungus 


110      EDIBLE   AND   POISONOUS   MUSHROOMS. 

than  Lactarius  pyrogalus,  and  is  scarcely 
zoned  at  all,  whereas  the  milk  in  the  latter 
is  persistently  white,  although  equally  acrid. 
Both  are  doubtless  to  be  strictly  avoided. 
The  Milk-Mushrooms  are  easily  distinguished 
by  cutting  or  bruising,  when  the  milk 
exudes  plentifully  from  all  parts.  If  this 
milk  proves  to  be  acrid,  and  biting  to  the 
tongue,  it  will  be  prudent  to  discard  the 
funous  at  once.  It  will  be  safest  never  to 
conclude  that  a  mushroom  which  possesses 
a  milky  juice  is  good  for  food,  unless  it  is 
thoroughly  well  known  and  has  a  good 
reputation. 


POISONOUS   MUSHROOMS.  Ill 


SHAM  MUSHROOM. 

Agaricus  (Hebeloma)  fastibilis. 

(Plate  XV.  Fig.  3.) 

On  one  or  two  occasions  this  fungus  has 
come  up  in  considerable  quantities  on  mush- 
room-beds, and  might  have  led  to  serious 
consequences  had  it  not  been  detected.  It 
is  usually  found  growing  in  woods.  The 
pileus  is  compact  and  fleshy,  two  inches 
and  more  across,  smooth  and  tan-coloured 
or  growing  pallid,  with  a  rather  darker 
centre,  the  involute  margin  downy ;  the 
stem  two  or  three  inches  long  and  half  an 
inch  thick,  thickened  at  the  base,  silky,  and 
with  a  web-like  ring ;  gills  rather  broad  and 
distant,  pallid  at  first,  then  dusky,  with 
dark  brown  spores,  and  the  edge  whitish. 
It  is  a  very  suspicious  species,  and  has  the 
reputation  of  being  noxious,  so  that  it  is  an 
unwelcome  visitor  when  it  appears  on  mush- 
room-beds.    The  deception  is  disclosed  by 


112      EDIBLE   AND    POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 

the  absence  of  the  distinct  membranaceous 
ring. 

A  similar  species  resembles  (rather  than 
imitates)  the  St.  George's  Mushroom ;  this 
is  Ag.  crustuliniformis,  which  is  about  the 
same  size,  but  less  robust  and  fleshy,  darker 
in  colour,  resembling  a  cracknel,  with  dusky 
gills  and  dark  brown  spores.  Instead  of 
the  very  strong  mushroomy  odour  of  the 
St.  George's  Mushroom,  it  has  a  faint,  dis- 
agreeable smell,  and,  to  complete  the  decep- 
tion, it  has  the  habit  of  coming  up  in  rings, 
but  it  grows  in  woods  and  not  in  pastures, 
and  comes  up  in  the  autumn  instead  of  the 
spring.  This  also  is  a  reputed  deleterious 
species. 


PL.  15. 


POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 


POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS.  113 


EMETIC  RUSSULE. 

Russula  emetica. 

(Plate  XYI.  Fig.  I.) 

The  very  name  of  this  Russule  seems  to 
carry  its  own  condemnation,  which  accords 
with  the  consensus  of  mycological  opinion 
in  Europe.  It  is  an  inhabitant  of  woods 
in  the  autumn,  with  a  pileus  about  two  or 
three  inches  in  diameter,  and  but  slightly 
convex.  Its  usual  colour  is  of  a  rosy-pink, 
or  bright  red,  and  the  thin  cuticle  easily 
separates,  showing  the  red  flesh  beneath ; 
this  is  mostly  relied  upon  to  distinguish  it 
from  other  red  species.  The  substance  is 
pure  white  and  very  fragile.  The  gills  are 
also  cpite  white,  and  do  not  reach  the 
stem,  but  leave  a  channel  around  it.  The 
stem  is  spongy,  and  either  white  or  tinged 
with  red.  There  are  no  short  gills  between 
the  longer  ones,  and  the  spores  are  white. 
This  species  is  acrid  to  the  palate,  and  is 
said  to  possess  emetic  properties,  due  to  a 


114      EDIBLE   AND    POISONOUS    MUSHEOOMS. 

principle  called  emetine.  We  know  of  no 
European  authority  which  does  not  pro- 
nounce this  species  dangerous.  Notwith- 
standing-this,  an  American  writer  says  :  "  I 
am  able  to  assert  positively,  from  having 
eaten  full  meals  of  them  often,  that  Russula 
emetica  is  as  good  as  any  Eussule."  We 
must  be  permitted  to  doubt  whether  he  has 
not  been  eating  some  other  red  species 
which  is  innocuous,  and  must  continue 
sceptical  until  his  experience  is  confirmed. 


POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS.  115 


FIERY  MILK-MUSHROOM. 

Lactarius  pyrogalus. 

(Plate  XVI.  Fig.  2.) 

This  is  one  of  the  peppery  species,  which 
exudes  a  hot  and  fiery  milk  on  being 
wounded.  The  pileus  is  about  two  inches 
broad,  depressed  in  the  middle,  smooth,  and 
of  a  livid  grey  colour,  with  darker  zones ; 
the  gills  are  dark  yellowish,  or  almost  tan- 
coloured,  running  down  the  hollow  pallid 
stem  ;  the  milk  is  very  copious,  and  white. 
It  is  found  chiefly  in  woods,  and  may  be 
recognized  by  its  colour,  and  that  of  the 
gills,  whereas  the  spores  are  white.  We 
are  not  disposed  to  champion  this  species, 
but  rather  to  utter  a  strong  caution  against 
it,  the  universal  opinion  being  in  its  con- 
demnation. 

Somewhat  resembling  the  above  in  form, 
but  of  a  bright  reddish-brown  colour,  is 
Lactarius  rufus,  by  no  means  common  in 


116      EDIBLE    AND    POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 

woods,  yielding  a  very  acrid  and  biting 
white  milk.  It  is  affirmed  to  be  one  of  the 
most  deadly  of  British  fungi,  but  we  shall 
content  ourselves  with  the  general  caution 
not  to  eat  any  of  the  milky  fungi  which 
yield  an  acrid  or  peppery  juice.  Indeed,  if 
all  the  milky  fungi  were  placed  under  the 
ban  indiscriminately,  it  might  be  the  most 
politic  course  to  adopt.  There  are  plenty 
of  sound  edible  species  without  them. 


POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS.  117 


WOOLLY  MILK-MUSHROOM. 

Lactarius  torminosus. 

(Plate  XVI.  Fig.  3.) 

The  chief  danger  associated  with  this 
mushroom  is  that  of  mistaking  it  for  the 
Delicious  Milk-Mushroom  [Lactarius  de- 
liciosus),  which  it  somewhat  resembles. 
It  is  common  enough  in  some  counties 
in  autumn,  in  woods  and  on  heaths, 
with  a  short  stem,  so  that  it  grows  close 
to  the  ground.  The  pileus  is  from  three 
to  four  inches  in  diameter,  convex,  de- 
pressed in  the  centre,  but  with  the  woolly 
margin  turned  inwards.  In  colour  it  is 
usually  a  light  brick-red  or  dingy  orange, 
and  -sometimes  flesh-coloured,  with  darker 
zones.  The  margin  is  hairy  and  paler, 
almost  white,  and  the  gills  whitish,  with 
white  spores.  When  cut  or  wounded  a 
white  milk  exudes,  which  is  acrid  and  biting 
to  the  tongue.  By  this  feature  it  may  be 
distinguished  from  the  edible  species  above- 


118      EDIBLE   AND   POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 

named,  in  that  the  milk  is  white  and  does 
not  change  colour.  Whether  it  will  poison 
any  one  if  eaten  is  rather  uncertain,  and 
probably  assumed  from  the  acrid  quality  of 
the  milk.  Some  authors  state  that  it  is  not 
poisonous,  others  that  it  is  only  suspected, 
and  others,  with  whom  we  agree,  that  as  it 
is  doubtful  it  is  better  to  abstain. 


PL.  16. 


'Fiery  Milk  Mushn 


POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 


POISONOUS   MUSHROOMS.  119 


WHITE   WOOLLY   MILK-MUSHKOOM. 

Lactarius  vellereus. 

(Plate  XVII.  Fig.  1.) 

It  is  customary  to  find  in  woods  the 
above-named  very  large  chalky  white  fungus, 
usually  several  growing  together.  The  pileus 
may  be  eight  or  nine  inches  across,  depressed 
in  the  centre,  and  funnel-shaped,  but  with 
the  edges  bent  over  outwards,  everywhere 
woolly  with  a  very  short  down,  and  dirty- 
looking  from  the  adhering  soil,  etc.  ;  the 
gills  are  broad,  not  very  close,  running 
down  the  stem.  The  latter  is  short  and 
very  thick,  often  two  inches,  and  solid. 
The  whole  fungus  is  very  firm,  dense,  and 
compact,  yielding  when  bruised  or  broken 
a  copious  white  acrid  milk.  Tradition 
affirms  that  this  species  is  very  poisonous, 
and  we  have  been  too  well  satisfied  with 
tradition  to  try  experiments. 

There  is  a  similar  white  species  equally 
common    in  woods  at  the   same  period  of 


120       EDIBLE    AND    POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 

the  year  (Lactarius  piperatus),  which  has 
been  declared  poisonous  for  the  past  fifty 
years.  The  pileus  is  quite  smooth  instead 
of  woolly,  the  gills  are  narrower  and 
close  together,  the  milk  is  white  and 
peppery,  the  stem  very  short  and  thick, 
and  the  pileus  depressed,  like  a  wine-glass, 
sometimes  as  much  as  six  or  eight  inches 
in  diameter.  Is  it  really  poisonous,  or 
has  it  been  only  suspected  on  account  of 
its  acrid  milk  ?  Many  years  ago  the  Rev. 
Dr.  Curtis  informed  Berkeley  that  he 
constantly  had  eaten  it  in  the  United 
States  without  inconvenience,  and  found 
it  excellent.  Still  more  recently  a  corre- 
spondent in  New  Jersey  writes  distinctly 
that  it  is  edible,  for  he  has  eaten  it.  These 
persons  are  competent  judges  of  the  true 
species,  and  quite  as  competent  to  pro- 
nounce on  its  properties,  hence  we  conclude 
that  it  is  not  poisonous,  although  we  class 
it  with  the  poisonous  species,  because  we 
are  not  prepared  to  recommend  it  without 
testing  it. 


POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS.  121 


BITTER   BOLETUS. 

Boletus  felleus. 

(Plate  XVII.  Fig.  2.) 

Great  bitterness  seems  to  characterize 
many  species  of  Agarics  and  some  Boleti, 
on  which  account  they  have  at  once  been 
regarded  as  poisonous,  when  we  think  that 
they  should  only  have  been  ranked  as  unfit 
for  food.  Evidence  tends  to  show  that 
intense  bitterness  does  not  indicate  that  the 
species  is  poisonous,  although  it  may  render 
the  fundus  nauseous.  The  Bitter  Boletus 
is  not  uncommon  in  some  localities  in 
autumn,  inhabiting  woodlands,  and  may 
be  distinguished  from  other  species  by  the 
flesh-coloured  tubes  and  rosy  spores.  The 
pileus  is  usually  about  three  inches  broad, 
and  convex,  smooth  and  soft,  of  a  yellowish- 
red  or  foxy  colour,  with  a  thick  white  flesh, 
which  becomes  of  a  dull  flesh  colour  when 
broken.  The  under  surface  is  convex  and 
of  a  pale  flesh  colour,  with  irregular  pores, 


122      EDIBLE   AND    POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 

which  are  angular  and  rather  large.  The 
stem  is  dingy  yellow,  thickened  at  the  base, 
and  reticulated  above  with  a  network  of 
raised  veins,  usually  darkest  below.  Every- 
where it  is  liable  to  become  discoloured  when 
bruised  or  broken.  The  taste  is  bitter,  and 
although  disagreeable  and  unfit  to  be  eaten, 
doubtless  its  poisonous  properties  have  been 
exaggerated. 


PL.  17. 


POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 


POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS.  123 


SATANIC   BOLETUS. 

Boletus  satanas. 

(Plate  XVIII.  Fig.  1.) 

This  grows  to  be  one  of  the  largest  and 
most  splendid  Boleti  we  possess,  but  it 
seems  to  be  rather  local.  On  one  occasion 
we  found  twenty  or  thirty  specimens 
growing  together,  some  of  which  were  a 
foot  in  diameter,  eight  or  nine  inches  high, 
with  a  stem  four  inches  thick,  but  they  are 
often  much  smaller.  It  is  autumnal,  and 
favours  rather  open  woods.  The  pileus 
is  whitish  or  pale  flesh  colour,  but  soon 
discoloured,  for  it  changes  wherever  bruised, 
and,  being  viscid,  is  generally  ornamented 
by  the  adherence  of  dead  leaves,  twigs,  and 
particles  of  soil.  The  under  surface  is  very 
convex,  yellowish,  then  red,  blood-red,  or 
crimson,  punctured  with  myriads  of  pores. 
The  stem  is  always  thick  and  short,  bright 
yellow  or  orange  above,  purplish-red  below, 
and  in  the   upper  half  reticulated  with   a 


124       EDIBLE    AND    POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 

network  of  delicate  veins.  When  cut  or 
broken  the  very  thick  flesh  at  once  changes 
to  deep  violet  blue,  and  every  part  changes 
in  like  manner  when  touched  or  bruised,  so 
that  its  external  beauty  is  soon  marred. 
This  Boletus  finds  a  place  in  every  book 
on  poisonous  fungi,  and  yet  its  toxicological 
properties  are  now  being  called  in  question, 
but  we  fear  it  will  always  remain  open  to 
suspicion  until  confirmatory  evidence  is 
produced.  Mr.  Mcllvaine  says  that  as  an 
article  of  food  it  is  one  of  the  best  of  the 
Boleti,  whilst  even  the  name  suggests  that 
it  has  ever  been  held  to  be  one  of  the  most 
dangerous. 


POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS.  125 


LURID   BOLETUS. 

Boletus  luridus. 

(Plate  XVIII.  Fig.  2.) 

In  all  books  and  lists  this  is  set  down 
as  a  poisonous  species,  and  no  one  ever 
seems  to  have  doubted  it  until  an  American 
correspondent  wrote  us  that  he  had  eaten 
this  and  Boletus  satanas,  and  found  them 
excellent.  At  present  we  are  not  disposed 
to  follow  his  example.  The  cap,  or  pileus, 
is  hemispherical,  from  three  to  six  inches 
in  diameter,  and  dull  umber  brown,  finely 
velvety  but  rather  viscid.  The  uuder 
surface  is  porous,  orange  or  red,  and  some- 
times blood-red.  The  stem  is  thick,  usually 
rather  short,  more  or  less  orange  above, 
and  red  or  brown  below,  and  either 
sprinkled  with  dots  or  with  a  network  of 
delicate  veins.  The  flesh  is  thick  and  firm, 
changing  immediately,  when  cut  or  bruised, 
to  indigo-blue  in  all  parts  except  the  base 
of  the  stem,  which  is  reddish.     Fries  says 


126      EDIBLE   AND    POISONOUS   MUSHROOMS. 

that  the  taste  is  pleasant,  but  that  it  is 
certainly  poisonous,  and  he  figures  it  with 
his  poisonous  fungi  of  Sweden.  It  is  by 
no  means  uncommon  in  woods  in  August 
and  September,  and  may  be  known  at  once 
by  the  rapid  change  of  its  yellowish  flesh 
to  deep  blue.  There  are  one  or  two  other 
species  which  are  similar,  and  change  in  a 
like  manner,  but  they  are  not  so  common, 
and  may  possibly  be  only  varieties.  It 
will  always  be  safe  not  to  eat  any  fungus 
which  changes  to  blue  when  cut  or  broken, 
notwithstanding  anything  Brother  Jonathan 
may  say. 


THE   END. 


Richard  Clay  <k  Sons,  Limited,  London  &  Bungay. 


PL.  18. 


«    I  V,  '  I  ■  ai   t  i  J  /J 


w 


w 


Satan  ■ 
.Boletus 


Lurid 
Boletus 


POISONOUS    MUSHROOMS. 


W    '  > ' 


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Evenings  at  the  Microscope ; 

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"Great  Orion"  (The). 

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Heroes  of  the  Arctic  and  their  Adventures 

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Hide  and  Seek. 

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Honor  Pentreath. 

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John  Holbrook's  Lessons. 

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Love  and  Justice. 

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Mission  Work  among  the  Indian  Tribes  in 

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Ocean  (The). 

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Our  Native  Songsters. 

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Percy  Trevor's  Training. 

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Rocked  in  the  Cradle  of  the  Deep. 

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Sailing  and  Sealing. 

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Seven  Idols. 

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Some  Heroes  of  Travel ; 

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8  PUBLICATIONS  OF  THE  SOCIETY. 

.  I,  , ,  -    —      _        ...   _      

Steffan's  Angel,  and  other  Stories.  s.  d. 

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Stepmother's  Will  (The) ;  op,  a  Tale  of  Two 
Brothers. 

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To  the  West. 

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Two  Shipmates  (The). 

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Wanted  a  Sphere. 

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Will's  Voyages, 

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Witch's  Den.    (The). 

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Wrecked  Lives ; 

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By  the  late  W.  H.  Davenport  Adams.    Crown  8vo. 

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Young  Squire  (The). 

A  Story  for  Children.    By  Lady  Dunboyne.    With 
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